January 4, 2012
Is it too late, or can Yahoo still get into the content analysis game? On December 21, ReadWrite Enterprise reported, “New Yahoo Content Analysis API Available Today.” Writer David Strom explains:
[The API’s] aim is to rank content by overall relevance, point to particular Wikipedia pages and annotate the results with extensive meta-data. The service is available as a Yahoo Query Language (YQL) table and more information can be found here. You can try out a sample query request and see the XML code that is returned in response, as well as documentation for the particular fields that are part of the interface.
Developed for internal use, the API is now fair game for any developer familiar with YQL. A couple of interesting points: key terms can be extracted from the content stream for ranking purposes. Also, content can be mapped to the Yahoo taxonomy. English and Chinese are currently supported, but more may become available.
Well, Yahoo, perhaps it is better late than never. We are not sure which company warrants close observation: Hewlett Packard, Research in Motion or Yahoo. Toss up maybe?
Cynthia Murrell, January 4, 2012
Sponsored by Pandia.com
October 12, 2011
Yahoo has been flailing around the internet ever since Google set anchor: this is no new news. The slight possibility for Yahoo to become a multinational corporation places the company in the media with Bloomberg’s article, “Silver Lake Said to Discuss Yahoo Deal with China’s Alibaba, Digital Sky.”
We learned about the potential opposition to this deal from the article:
Regulators may oppose foreign ownership of a company such as Yahoo, which plays a crucial role in U.S. communications through the delivery of e-mail and instant messaging. The company also serves as the second-largest U.S. search engine, through a partnership with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) The deal would face tax implications as well because of Yahoo’s stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan Corp. (4689), one person said.
The whole deal is very much up in the air at this point. After the recent firing of CEO Carol Burtz last month, Yahoo plans on evaluating their current plan.
Additionally, it has been reported that the group is not even certain if they will make a bid.
Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma sees it in his best interest to buy Yahoo because Yahoo currently has a 40% stake in Alibaba. It would be interesting to hear about the motivations from the other two companies.
Megan Feil, October 12, 2011
September 20, 2011
Yahoo did make its mail service a bit more responsive. That’s a plus because Yahoo mail has been disappointing to our publisher Stephen E Arnold for a year. He complains about it when his T Mobile wireless broadband connection hangs when Yahoo’s servers are on a break.
And image search? We’re confused about Flickr. And in a much-needed effort to stay in the game, Yahoo has increased its image search functions. Search Engine Watch profiles the newest upgrade to Yahoo in, “Yahoo Launches Enhanced Image Search.”
Yahoo has announced a new image search that matches recent enhancement to Google and Bing. Yahoo’s new image presentation also allows for easy searching of galleries, a connection to your friends’ Facebook images, and easy navigation of full-sized images.
It boils down to whether anyone cares, and we are not sure that they do. Innovative in the beginning, Yahoo’s indexing set them apart, encouraging use by the librarian set who appreciated a more structured layout. Now Yahoo is relegated to a position of keeping up, mainly with Bing and Google. While the image features might be highly innovative, we are not sure that Yahoo still has the clout the pull in users to explore those features, or even stumble upon them.
Emily Rae Aldridge, September 20, 2011
September 7, 2011
I am in a country where cabbage is the main delicacy. I took time from marzipan with sauerkraut to read “Carol Bartz Confirms Her Own Firing –From Her iPad” to learn that the “new” Yahoo was a bit like the “new” Coca Cola. Hype did not generate big bucks. Here’s the statement I noted:
The moral of the story: how do you know a company is lying about something potentially damaging, even (and perhaps especially) in an official capacity? If their mouths are moving.
Too bad for Ms. Bartz, Yahoo stakeholders, and, I think, for AOL’s Xoogler boss. Here’s why:
- AOL has Ms Huffington, who may look like a way to fix the wandering AOL
- Yahoo had a female CEO, and AOL may think that it can emulate Yahoo with better results following its lead in management selection
- With new brass at the top of these me-too companies, someone might think merging the outfits will make a winner, an idea which the Xoogler has not acted upon
My view. Time is running out for both Yahoo and AOL.
Stephen E Arnold, September 7, 2011
Sponsored by Pandia.com, publishers of The New Landscape of Enterprise Search
August 5, 2011
It’s got to be tough being alpha dog. At least, it seems that way for Google who has one of the largest most used search engines in the world. With a slew of patent infringement lawsuits pending and several states looking into anti-trust issues associated with the top-dog, yet another company is complaining about Google’s business practices, as explained in the article, Local Business Site Challenges Google Ranking, on SiliconValley.com.
How search engines determine ranking is a closely guarded secret, a series of algorithms that can make or break websites, depending on where they fall in the rankings. This is precisely what ShopCity is complaining about. According to the small company, Google is ‘manually monkeying’ with the rankings in order for ShopCity sites to appear lower than Google owned competing sites.
Google asserts that ShopCity sites are low in the ranking because…well, they are basically bad sites. While ShopCity admits they are still working on building several of their sites (meaning they know their sites are rotten), many of the sites in the Bay Area, like ShopPaloAlto and ShopPleasanton, are alive and stuffed full of helpful and legitimate information. They believe those sites should be higher up in the rankings, as they are on Yahoo!
“Search industry expert Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of Search Engine Land, said such suspicions about a site as small as ShopPaloAlto.com are “ludicrous. If that was what (Google) was worried about, you would never find Yelp,” a formidable competitor for Google that offers restaurant reviews and business listings, Sullivan said. But Sullivan said Google should be able to differentiate between higher-quality ShopCity sites such as the Bay Area sites, and placeholder sites waiting until ShopCity makes partnerships with local groups for listings.”
Is ShopCity going to be just another flea on Google’s back, or will something come from their claims? Coincidentally, after the FTC inquiry was announced, ShopCity’s Bay Area sites jumped in Google rankings, causing a 400% increase in traffic, but then plummeted back to page seven of search results after only three weeks. A Google imposed penalty for outside complaints if the official explanation.
Catherine Lamsfuss, August 5, 2011
Sponsored by Quasar CA, your source for informed financial advisory services
August 4, 2011
Yahoo’s partnership with Microsoft is in the driver’s seat, as Search Engine Journal explains in “Yahoo Unrolls Search Alliance to 6 New Countries.” The deal has Microsoft supporting Yahoo by managing the mechanics of the search engine and providing search advertisements. However, Yahoo is remitting transition costs and a percentage of ad revenue. Writer Rob D. Young notes:
“One of the most clear things is that the search alliance will become less costly once it’s complete. At that point, Yahoo will be able to drop its back-end support in countries where Microsoft hasn’t yet taken the reigns, and transition costs will no longer be deducted from the total company income. So it’s good news for Yahoo that the transition to Microsoft has completed in another six regions.”
Argentina, Chile, Colombia, New Zealand, Peru, and Venezuela are the new areas, while more in Europe and Asia are on their way. Yahoo search is being customized for each region. Full migration should be completed by the end of this year.
The company’s second quarter earnings report confirms that these transitions are crucial to the its bottom line. Bing has been in the news lately, but we think that Bing will persist for the foreseeable future. Microsoft cannot concede search advertising to the Google—at least not yet.
Cynthia Murrell, August 4, 2011
July 14, 2011
“Yahoo Search BOSS API V2 is Paid, V1 Gone in Two Weeks,” reports programmable web. Programmers who employ Yahoo! BOSS (Build your Own Search Service) have known the change to a paid service was coming since last October. The new version includes HTTPs support, SQL and YQL support, News Service enhancements, and documentation upgrades. The feature writer Romin Irani most appreciates, though, is daily usage limit specification:
Top of the list is the ability for developers to specify their daily usage limits. You can now specify a daily dollar limit for your service consumption and you can modify that as needed. This is especially important in a paid service since developers might not be prepared for an increased bill in case of a sudden spike in usage.
The fee structure was detailed back in February 2011 by Juan Carlos Perez in “Yahoo Sets Fees for BOSS Search Developer Program” at PCWorld:
The top-tier option, called Full Web, includes result links to general Web pages, images and news articles, and will cost US$0.80 per 1,000 queries, Yahoo said on Tuesday. A less expensive tier, Limited Web, will draw its results from a smaller index that isn’t refreshed as often as the one Full Web uses and costs $0.40 per 1,000 queries. Yahoo will also offer developers options for an image-only index ($0.30 per 1,000 queries) and for a news article-only index ($0.10 per 1,000 queries).
So, if you have apps that rely on BOSS V1, be sure to transition right away. I did a quick check of my list of sites using BOSS. Cluuz.com was alive and ticking. The others. Flatlined.
Cynthia Murrell July 13, 2011
Sponsored by ArticleOnePartners.com, your source for patent intelligence
June 30, 2011
Google has been rolling out products that redefine its business: Google+, Android’s staggering growth, and legal hassles that numb my mind. Facebook got ready for summer by announcing that it had upwards of 700 million “members.” Amazon’s interesting infrastructure worked well enough for the company to announce that it would move the Kindle to iPad territory.
And what about Yahoo?
Two things caught my attention. First, I noticed that finding the link to the personalized page I set up years ago required navigating to Yahoo.com and then back to the personalized page. That’s one way to get page views from a person who is already on record as disliking the number of clicks I have to do to get my Yahoo mail. I am a premium Yahoo mail user and I still have to jump through hoops. What’s this tell me? Trouble in click land. Yahoo is a high traffic site compared to BigO Tires. I think Yahoo and a couple of other big fellas are twiddling with pages to crank up the traffic numbers. For me, this is something I want to watch. I hope I am wrong. But if I am correct, the softening of Web traffic is going to be a major headache.
Second, I noticed some PR wing flapping. The spin out of a company focused on Hadoop is one example. If you want the “real” journalists take on this development, read “Yahoo, Benchmark Capital Launching Independent Company for Apache Hadoop.” My hunch is that the reason for the move is the RedHat rainbow and its pot of gold. Will Hadoop with Yahoo’s purple mantle become the next RedHat? Nope. The other thing that caught my attention was the rumor that Yahoo was ripe for more management upheaval. One of my goslings was excited to read “Yahoo Is Quietly Looking For Replacements for Carol Bartz, Says Report.” So far, no turmoil but the rumor, like the Hadoop play, lights up my radar.
What is clear is that Yahoo is dropping from the top tier of Web properties. Like the spectacular fall of MySpace.com, certain online services are tough to reinflate. I use a low power, low cost netbook from Toshiba for some work at night when I am flopped on the floor with my boxers, Max and Tess. Yahoo mail does not like my tiny screen and keeps insisting that I use the “new” Yahoo mail. If I click the button for the “new” Yahoo mail, Yahoo tells me that my netbook cannot run the new Yahoo mail. So I go back to the same clunky Yahoo interface I have been using for years. Yahoo is persistent. I keep getting asked to switch. I find the assumption that everyone must use the new mail fascinating. Nice job of personalization for a paying customer? Nope.
Net net. Yahoo seems to be struggling when I try to use the service to meet my needs. Here’s my checklist of issues:
- Redesign that gets in the way of doing a basic task like reading a message
- Search that returns results that are less useful than Bing.com’s results. (I find this amazing.)
I hope Yahoo can find a way to kindle excitement in its products and services. As a case study, Yahoo is an exemplary instance of 21st century business strategy.
Stephen E Arnold, June 30, 2011
From the leader in next-generation analysis of search and content processing, Beyond Search.
April 21, 2011
There are some genuinely interesting search and content processing systems built with Yahoo BOSS. The acronym means Build Your Own Search Service. To see what clever engineers can do with BOSS, navigate to the Cluuz.com service. Run a query for a well known person. Here’s a snippet of Yahoo out via Cluuz for Jason Calacanis, the high profile Internet entrepreneur.
We were delighted to spot “Yahoo BOSS V2 Officially Released.” Despite a lack of attention to traditional search products, Yahoo! has put effort into developing this commodity.
BOSS makes it relatively easy for an organization to build custom search platforms, whether they want access to Web pages, images, and/ or other search divisions. You have to pay if you hit the big time and cross Yahoo’s usage threshold, then there is a cost based on number of queries and the features the new service taps.
BOSS also makes it possible to build a business on the technology. According to the article:
The most appealing element in Yahoo’s BOSS V2, though, is the search page advertisements provided by Yahoo – that allow you, as the search provider, to make some money. While this form of monetization may not be profitable for all developers, it will at least subsidize the price of BOSS itself.
After the tie up with Microsoft, we did not know if BOSS would survive the changes in Yahoo search and in staffing. For now, the BOSS still lives.
Cynthia Murrell April 21, 2011
March 14, 2011
I thought Yahoo was into Bing.com search. Bing.com, of course, has semantic functions galore. But Yahoo?
You can learn about Yahoo and its view of semantic search at “Be a Part of the Next Wave of Web Search.”
Unlike companies rolling out a new product or service, Yahoo is running a competition. The requirements? Here’s a snippet:
… the competition calls for participants to answer queries varying
in complexity, based on a set of structured data collected from
the Web. The results will be presented at the 4th International
Workshop on Semantic Search, co-located with the World Wide Web
Conference 2011 in Hyderabad, India.
Sounds good. Will Microsoft engineers enter? Will there be some Googlers?
Yahoo seems to think that semantics are going to help users cope with Web content and improve relevance. Semantic methods will help filter, cull, and hone information. Yahoo’s goal is to make search more useful. via semantics.
But what about that Bing.com tie up? What about Microsoft’s semantics from Powerset to Cognition Technologies?
Micheal Cory, March 14, 2011