Ever since Yahoo hooked up with Bing I figured that was the end of Yahoo’s search enhancements and changes. I figured everything would be Bing Bing Bing. That appears not to be the case; late last week Yahoo announced yet more enhancements to its search engine. As I understand it these changes are currently being rolled out to users in the US and will be added to additional markets in 2011.
Yahoo said in its announcement that the best way to learn about these new enhancements would be to search Yahoo, and invited users to start by searching for topics such as “Lady Gaga.” But it’s funny; I meant to type “Lady Gaga” and I ended up typing “Engelbert Humperdinck”. Go figure. But it worked, anyway.
Engelbert had a tab of his own at the top of the screen showing an album, with links to immediately start playing some of his music. Within seconds I was listening to Handbags and Gladrags. The tab had other tabs further to the right, showing me a collection of Engelbert images and tweets. (Well. One tweet.) Curious to see if more recent performers provided more information, I started typing “Lady Gaga” again but this time I ended up with “Laurie Anderson.” Hmm. Laurie Anderson had additional tabs at the top of the screen, including an “Overview” tab and a tab for videos. The video I wanted to look at didn’t play in-window like Engelbert did; I had to go to MySpace to get my ration of O Superman.
Yahoo also suggested searching for movies, put my attempt to type “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” ended up as “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” (I don’t know WHAT is wrong with this keyboard…) While it was as extensive as the multitabs, I did get a poster, critic ratings, and a brief summary. (Yahoo’s Movies property has a page with even more information.)
The tabbed information windows at the top of the page are not limited to musicians. I got tabbed pages for people like Andre Agassi and Steve Ballmer (though not, strangely, for Bill Gates.) Currently-active athletes (I tried Brett Favre and Coco Crisp) don’t have tabs but do have information about their current sports statistics.
New additions to Yahoo aren’t limited to the Web site. The image search now has a slideshow across the top of its results, and I understand if you connect your Yahoo account to your Facebook account, you can also access public Facebook albums from Facebook friends.
Nothing Yahoo did in these upgrades is going to set the world on fire, but it’s a pleasant organization of information. I like the way the audio was integrated into the search results page but that makes me just want to see more.