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A Xoogler Fixes Yahoo Mobile Search

June 27, 2015

If you have not explored Yahoo Search, give it a whirl. Try to find information about these topics:

The query “Yahoo Search: displays this result:


Note that the second hit is to Tumblr. There you go. The other hits point to the very same page I used to launch my search for “Yahoo Search.” Helpful?

Try this query: “price diapers”. On the left side of the results page, Yahoo displayed:


On the right side of the results page, Yahoo displayed:


These are prices from advertisers. Oh, there is a link to something called Yahoo Shopping. Okay, that is one way to generate revenue and create an extra click. Annoying to me. To Yahoo, fulfillment and joy.

Also, try this query: “Dark Web paste sites”.

Here’s the results page:


Ads and two links to Dot ONION addresses. For the Yahoo user, I am not sure if the user will know what to make of this result:


I suppose I can find some positives in these results pages. On the other hand, the impact for me was inconsistency.

Navigate now to “Yahoo Search Becomes More Like Google on Mobile Devices.” The headline tells the story. Yahoo is lost in search space, so the Xoogler running the Yahoo comedy hour is imitating Google.

So much for innovation. One hopes the approach works because when Yahoo is left to its own devices, the information access thing is a bit like a rice cake and water to a Big O tire changer taking a break from three hours of roadside work in the blazing sun.

Stephen E Arnold, June 27, 2015

Apple Acquires Search Startup Ottocat

June 4, 2015

Apple needed a better search system for its app store, so it bought a startup; according to TechCrunch, “Apple Acquired Search Startup Ottocat to Power the ‘Explore’ Tab in the App Store.” Writer Ingrid Lunden observes that the deal was kept pretty quiet, but suspects it was agreed to in 2013; that is when Ottocat’s website disappeared. Months later, Apple implemented the “explore” feature for its App Store. So why did Apple pick Ottocat? The article explains:

“In a nutshell, its technology essentially addressed pain points on both sides of the App Store: for users unable to find specific enough results for subject-based app searches when they don’t have a specific app in mind; and for developers unhappy with how well their apps could be discovered among a sea of 1 million+ other apps. The premise was to do away with keywords by categorizing apps into increasingly more specific subcategories that worked on a ‘drill-down’ principle — eliminating the guesswork and potential inaccuracy of keywords altogether. …

“For example, rather than searching on ‘guitar’ or scrolling through the full selection of music apps that the term might call up, or the chart for the most popular music apps — which can contain streaming apps, apps that are designed to work with specific hardware, apps that let people use their phones to play music, apps that teach them how to play a specific instrument, and so on — you can start to look at specific subcategories to find a selection of apps you may want to download.”

Launched in 2012 by Michelle Cooper and Edwin Cooper, Ottocat is headquartered in Oakland, California. Lunden wonders whether the Cooper pair is now working at Apple, and what they might be working on. Search for Safari, perchance? Maybe neither Yahoo nor Microsoft will provide Safari’s default search once Apple’s deal with Google expires, after all.

Cynthia Murrell, June 4, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Yahoo Considers Options for Japanese Division

May 25, 2015

Despite a series of changes since former Googler Marissa Mayer took over at Yahoo, the search-and-entertainment company still struggles to find its footing in a tech landscape that shifted around it long ago. Bloomberg Business wonders whether the Yahoo’s next steps in Japan will set it on a sturdier path in, “Yahoo Weighs Options for Japan Stake; Sales Miss Estimates.” Writer Brian Womack reports that Mayer plans to make the most of her company’s Japanese assets. He posits:

“By telling investors she’s looking at options for Yahoo Japan, Mayer may be seeking to buy herself more time to jump-start growth at the company she’s been working to turn around for almost three years. Unless she can expand sales, investors may eventually lose patience with the strategy and question her leadership. Some analysts speculated earlier this year that Yahoo could become a takeover target for a larger Internet company after it spins off the Alibaba stake.

“Yahoo’s share of the U.S. online display ad market may slide to 3.5 percent in 2017 from 5.5 percent last year, according to EMarketer Inc. Quarterly revenue growth has come in at less than 4 percent or negative since the end of 2012.”

The success of China’s largest e-commerce firm, and Yahoo asset, Alibaba is responsible for much of the company’s recent growth, such as it is, but that boost will only last so long. Womack reports there has been investor pressure to  spin off Yahoo’ Japanese division, but apparently Mayer prefers to consider a range of options. Will Yahoo find salvation in the land of the rising sun?

Cynthia Murrell, May 25, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Yahoo Management: Raising the Bar

May 20, 2015

I love it when Xooglers demonstrate how Googley behavior translates into down home management expertise. Two examples this morning:

  • The Wall Street Journal reported that the new Yahoo chief information officer has decided to leave Yahoo for other opportunities. You may have to pay to view the article or you can buy a dead tree version at your local news agent. (Local news agent! What was I thinking?)
  • The Alibaba deal worth lots of money may have hit a speed bump. You can get some of the details in “Yahoo Affirms Spinoff Plan as IRS Comments Trigger Share Slump.” That tax stuff is tricky. Accountants have so much to do and tax issues come up so infrequently.

Yahoo management continues to provide a flow of possible business school case examples.

Stephen E Arnold, May 20, 2015

Yahoo and Microsoft Announce Search Partnership Reboot

May 7, 2015

It seems that Microsoft and Yahoo are friends again, at least for the time being. Search Engine Watch announces, “Yahoo and Microsoft Amend Search Agreement.” The two companies have been trying to partner on search for the past six years, but it has not always gone smoothly. Writer Emily Alford tells us what will be different this time around:

“First, Yahoo will have greater freedom to explore other search platforms. In the past, Yahoo was rumored to be seeking a partnership with Google, and under the new terms, Microsoft and Yahoo’s partnership will no longer be exclusive for mobile and desktop. Under the new agreement, Yahoo will continue to serve Bing ads on desktop and mobile, as well as use Bing search results for the majority of its desktop search traffic, though the exact number was undisclosed.

“Microsoft and Yahoo are also making changes to the way that ads are served. Microsoft will now maintain control of the Bing ads salesforce, while Yahoo will take full control of its Gemini ads salesforce, which will leave Bing free to serve its own ads side by side with Yahoo search results.”

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer painted a hopeful picture in a prepared statement. She and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella have been working together, she reports, to revamp the search deal. She is “very excited to explore” the fresh possibilities. Will the happy relationship hold up this time around?

Cynthia Murrell, May 7, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Continued Growth and Success at Syl Semantics

May 5, 2015

The article on Yahoo New Zealand titled Syl Semantics Raises New Capital and Appoints New Directors begins by naming the two freshly-minted non-executive directors, Murray Nash and Gene Turner. This is the result of successful capital raising to the tune of a million dollars for the Wellington-based company. Syl Semantics will continue to focus on growing the company with the assistance of the new directors. The article explains,

“Murray Nash is Managing Director of Zusammen, an advisory firm specialising in strategy, finance and capital markets, risk management, and public policy. In 2013 Murray was manager of the Establishment Unit and subsequently the acting Chief Executive of Callaghan Innovation. Murray has been a senior manager in three financial risk management start-ups in New York – supplying technology solutions to global leaders in banking, insurance, asset management and prudential supervision. He has a MComm (Finance) from the University of Auckland.”

Gene Turner’s background is in law and banking. Syl Semantics was created in 2008 and has grown steadily since then, releasing Syl Search in 2011 with great success. Syl Semantics is focused on what they term “Information Intelligence” or the “ability to access and extract value, meaning and learning from information.” James Fowler, the Director of Sales and Marketing, spoke to the ambition and perseverance of the company, which hopes to gain more of a foothold in New Zealand and Australian markets.

Chelsea Kerwin, May 5, 2014

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Mobile Yahoo Is Just Moving Right Along

May 4, 2015

What’s with the Yahoo? I know the company has been struggling with revenues. There have been executive shuffles. The mail service is wonky.

I read “How Marissa Mayer Mobilized Yahoo” in hopes of finding some answers to the mysteries of creating a new password for Yahoo email or configuring MyYahoo settings so actual content appears. I yearn for more information about Yahoo’s advanced search technology. Oh, I thirst for information.

I learned:

Yahoo believes there are signs that Mayer’s bet on mobile is paying off already. Some 575 million of its 1 billion users now access offerings such as the Yahoo app, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Weather, Yahoo News Digest, and Flickr on mobile devices. Its rate of mobile growth outpaces the industry average. In 2014, the first year the company broke out mobile revenue, it reported grossing $1.2 billion in the category. “We had to build that—the people, the core competencies, the product base, the users, the traffic, and that revenue—from scratch,” Mayer says. “And we did it really quickly.”

Yep, mobile. Search and service stability?

The write up reports?

Employees in the company’s media division can complain that bureaucracy substitutes for a clear sense of direction. One ex-employee reports that people still at the company grumble of months-long waits for required approvals on projects. But at least in mobile, which is a top-priority focus, Yahoo does seem to be moving fast.

Yes, fast. Mobile.

The article states:

Almost every day, she says [Marissa Mayer] , she hears from people who are “surprised” by how good Yahoo’s mobile apps are. It’s time to stop being surprised. For the first time in years, Yahoo is positioned for some kind of future success, whether mild or bold. It’s not the company she inherited, and that’s a victory that no one—not even a cabal of angry investors—can take away from Marissa Mayer.

Well, maybe. What about search? What about that flashy information access technology? What about revenue growth? What about those acquisitions? What about juicy profits?

The answer is, it seems, “Mobile.”


Stephen E Arnold, May 4, 2015

A Binging Double Take 

May 1, 2015

After you read this headline from Venture Beat, you will definitely be doing a double take: “ComScore: Bing Passes 20% Share In The US For The First Time.”  Bing has been the punch line for search experts and IT professionals ever since it was deployed a few years ago.  Anyone can contest that Bing is not the most accurate search engine, mostly due to it being a Microsoft product.  Bing developers have been working to improve the search engine’s accuracy and for the first time ever ComScore showed that both Google and Yahoo fell a 0.1 percentage and Bing gained 0.3 percent, most likely stealing it from DuckDuckGo and other smaller search engines.  Microsoft can proudly state that one in five searches are conducted on Bing.

The change comes after months of stagnation:

“For many months, ComScore’s reports showed next to no movement for each search service (a difference of 0.1 points or 0.2 points one way or the other, if that). A 0.3 point change is not much larger, but it does come just a few months after big gains from Yahoo. So far, 2015 is already a lot more exciting, and it looks like the search market is going to be worth paying close attention to.”

The article says that most of search engine usage is generated by what Internet browsers people use.  Yahoo keep telling people to move to Firefox and Google wants people to download Chrome.  The browser and search engine rivalries continue, but Google still remains on top.  How long will Bing be able to keep this bragging point?

Whitney Grace, May 1, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

How do You use Your Email?

April 28, 2015

Email is still a relatively new concept in the grander scheme of technology, having only been around since the 1990s.  As with any human activity, people want to learn more about the trends and habits people have with email.  Popular Science has an article called “Here’s What Scientists Learned In The Largest Systematic Study Of Email Habits” with a self-explanatory title.  Even though email has been around for over twenty years, no one is quite sure how people use it.

So someone decided to study email usage:

“…researchers from Yahoo Labs looked at emails of two million participants who sent more than 16 billion messages over the course of several months–by far the largest email study ever conducted. They tracked the identities of the senders and the recipients, the subject lines, when the emails were sent, the lengths of the emails, and the number of attachments. They also looked at the ages of the participants and the devices from which the emails were sent or checked.”

The results were said to be so predictable that an algorithm could have predicted them. Usage has a strong correlation to age groups and gender. The young write short, quick responses, while men are also brief in their emails.  People also responded more quickly during work hours and the more emails they receive the less likely they are to write a reply.  People might already be familiar with these trends, but the data is brand new to data scientists.  The article predicts that developers will take the data and design better email platforms.

How about creating an email platform that merges a to-do list with emails, so people don’t form their schedules and tasks from the inbox.

Whitney Grace, April 28, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Digital Economy Growth Engines Lose RPMs

April 24, 2015

Short honk: I read several articles about the financial reports of Facebook, Google, and Yahoo. I enjoyed the explanations about the revenues and profits. Here are the write ups open on my desktop monitor at this moment:

Is there a message to be decrypted from these data? Yep.

Stephen E Arnold, April 24, 2015

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