Yahoo!’s differentiation strategy?

I’m catching up on my feeds and I’ve come across this post on the Yahoo! Search Blog. I wonder if there is more significance here than initially meets the eye.

I recently sat down with Gord Hotchkiss over at Search Engine Land for his column titled, “Just Behave” and talked about the power of the Yahoo! Search experience, as I see it. We honed in on social search because, quite frankly, it’s quickly becoming a key factor in the overall success of a search experience.

In particular he cites the way in which Yahoo! Answers are featured alongside search results now.

Search has increasingly become better at refining raw information into ever more useful materials. The powerful blend of Social Search with traditional search puts this material into the hands of real people and also creates something that no machine could really ever reproduce: A connection to the world’s knowledge.

Reading between the lines, I wonder if this is really saying “we’ve lost the technology battle with Google who are just better at the horsepower than we are, so we are going to concentrate on making the social space work.” They have the assets: Answers,, Flickr and even, maybe, MyBlogLog. Making them all work together would create a platform very different from the machine-generated Google Operating System.

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One thought on “Yahoo!’s differentiation strategy?”

  1. Jim, very right, glad to see you are covering social search and how Yahoo! and Google might differentiate. You are very right, the social search inflexion point is one of no return. Search has changed. Online consumer information retrieval has reached another inflexion point. There is a shift from pure algorithmic search to social search.

    Relevance remains the #1 critical success factor. More than ever, relevance is in essence a subjective measure of perception taking into consideration the holistic search experience one user at a time. Inferring user intent remains at the core of the relevance challenge that social search addresses head front. The wisdom of crowds – so well articulated by James Surowiecki – is at the root of emerging information retrieval tools such as collaborative content harvesting, directory building, voting and ranking. Search users submit, share, comment and tag content from bookmarks to Web pages, news, images, videos and podcasts. The Web is getting a whole lot more fluid and transparent.

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