Yahoo! Search

This article is about the Yahoo search engine. For the corporation, see Yahoo.
Yahoo Search

Yahoo Search
Type of site
Web search engine
Available in Multilingual (40)
Owner Yahoo
Alexa rank Steady 5 (September 2016)[1]
Commercial Yes
Registration Optional
Launched March 2, 1995 (1995-03-02)
Current status Active
Written in PHP[2]

Yahoo Search is a web search engine owned by Yahoo. As of February 2015 it is the third largest search engine in the US by the query volume at 12.8%, after its competitors Google at 64.5% and Bing at 19.8%.[3]

Originally, "Yahoo Search" referred to a Yahoo-provided interface that sent queries to a searchable index of pages supplemented with its directory of websites. The results were presented to the user under the Yahoo! brand. Originally, none of the actual web crawling and data housing was done by Yahoo! itself. In 2001, the searchable index was powered by Inktomi and later was powered by Google until 2004, when Yahoo! Search became independent. On July 29, 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo! announced a deal in which Bing would henceforth power Yahoo! Search.[4]

Search technology acquisition

Seeking to provide its own search engine results, Yahoo! acquired their own search technology. In 2002, they bought Inktomi, a "behind the scenes" or OEM search engine provider, whose results are shown on other companies' websites and powered Yahoo! in its earlier days.

In 2003, they purchased Overture Services, Inc., which owned the AlltheWeb and AltaVista search engines. Initially, even though Yahoo! owned multiple search engines, they didn't use them on the main website, but kept using Google's search engine for its results.

Starting on April 7, 2003, Yahoo! Search became its own web crawler-based search engine.[5] They combined the capabilities of search engine companies they had acquired and their prior research into a reinvented crawler called Yahoo Slurp. The new search engine results were included in all of Yahoo's websites that had a web search function. Yahoo! also started to sell the search engine results to other companies, to show on their own websites. Their relationship with Google was terminated at that time, with the former partners becoming each other's main competitors.

In October 2007, Yahoo! Search was updated with a more modern appearance in line with the redesigned Yahoo! home page. In addition, Search Assist was added; which provides real-time query suggestions and related concepts as they are typed.

In July 2008, Yahoo! Search announced the introduction of a new service called Yahoo! Search BOSS ("Build your Own Search Engine"). This service opens the doors for developers to use Yahoo!'s system for indexing information and images and create their own custom search engine.[6]

In January 2010, Microsoft announced a deal in which it would take over the functional operation of Yahoo! Search, and set up a joint venture to sell advertising on both Yahoo! Search and Bing known as the Microsoft Search Alliance. A complete transition of all Yahoo! sponsored ad clients to Microsoft adCenter (now Bing Ads) occurred in October 2010.[4]

In November 2014, Mozilla signed a five-year partnership with Yahoo, making Yahoo Search the default search engine for Firefox browsers in the US.[7]

In April 2015, the Microsoft partnership was modified, now only requiring Bing results on the "majority" of desktop traffic, opening the ability for Yahoo to enter into non-exclusive deals for search services on mobile platforms and the remainder of desktop traffic. The amendment also gives either company the ability to terminate the contract with four months' notice. In October 2015, Yahoo subsequently reached an agreement with Google to provide services to Yahoo Search through the end of 2018, including advertising, search, and image search services.[8][9][10]

Yahoo Search blog and announcements

The team at Yahoo Search frequently blogged about search announcements, features, updates and enhancements. The Yahoo Search Blog, as stated provided A look inside the world of search from the people at Yahoo.[11] This included index updates named Weather Updates and their Yahoo Search Assist feature.

International presence

Yahoo Search also provided their search interface in at least 38 international markets and a variety of available languages.[12] Yahoo! has a presence in Europe, Asia and across the Emerging Markets.


Search results

Yahoo Search indexed and cached the common HTML page formats, as well as several of the more popular file-types, such as PDF, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint, Word documents, RSS/XML and plain text files. For some of these supported file-types, Yahoo Search provided cached links on their search results allowing for viewing of these file-types in standard HTML. Using the Advanced Search interface or Preferences settings, Yahoo Search allowed the customization of search results and enabling of certain settings such as: SafeSearch, Language Selection, Number of results, Domain restrictions, etc.[13] For a Basic and starter guide to Yahoo Search, they also provided a Search Basics tutorial.[14] In 2005, Yahoo began to provide links to previous versions of pages archived on the Wayback Machine.[15] In the first week of May 2008, Yahoo launched a new search mash up called Yahoo Glue, which is in beta testing.[16]

On June 20, 2007, Yahoo introduced a selection-based search feature called Yahoo Shortcuts. When activated this selection-based search feature enabled users to invoke search using only their mouse and receive search suggestions in floating windows while remaining on Yahoo properties such as Yahoo Mail. This feature was only active on Yahoo web pages or pages within the Yahoo Publisher Network. Yahoo Shortcuts required the content-owner to modify the underlying HTML of his or her webpage to call out the specific keywords to be enhanced. The technology for context-aware selection-based search on Yahoo pages was first developed by Reiner Kraft.[17]


SearchScan in action

On May 11, 2008, Yahoo introduced SearchScan. If enabled this add-on/feature enhanced Yahoo Search by automatically alerting users of viruses, spyware and spam websites.[18]

Search verticals

Yahoo Search provided the ability to search across numerous vertical properties outside just the Web at large. These included Images, Videos, Local, Shopping, Yahoo! Answers, Audio, Directory, Jobs, News, Mobile, Travel and various other services as listed on their About Yahoo Search page.

See also


  1. "Alexa yahoo traffic results". Alexa. Retrieved 2016-01-06.
  2. Roger Chapman. "Top 40 Website Programming Languages". Retrieved September 6, 2011.
  3. Lella, Adam (2015-03-17). "comScore Releases February 2015 U.S. Desktop Search Engine Rankings". Retrieved 2015-03-18.
  4. 1 2 "Microsoft and Yahoo seal web deal". BBC News. 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2012-11-10.
  5. "Yahoo! Inc. - Company Timeline". Wayback Machine. 2008-07-13. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  6. "Yahoo Opens Up Search Technology Infrastructure for Innovative, New Search Experiences, Providing Third Parties with Unprecedented Access, Re-Ranking and Presentation Control of Web Search Results". Yahoo. July 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  7. "New Search Strategy for Firefox: Promoting Choice & Innovation". The Mozilla Blog.
  8. "Yahoo enters deal to display Google search results". The Verge. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  9. "Microsoft loses exclusivity in shaken up Yahoo search deal". Ars Technica. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  10. "Ad Tech And Mobile In Focus In Microsoft And Yahoo's Renewed Search Deal". TechCrunch. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  11. "Yahoo Search Blog". Retrieved 2012-11-10.
  12. "Yahoo international presence". Retrieved 2012-11-10.
  13. "Yahoo Advanced Web Search".
  14. Search Basics tutorial Archived October 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. Yahoo Cache Now Offers Direct Links to Wayback Machine Search Engine Watch, September 18 2005
  16. Hopkins, Mark (2008-11-13). "Yahoo! Glue Launches in America". Retrieved 2015-02-21.
  17. "Yahoo shortcuts".
  18. "Yahoo SearchScan information page". Retrieved 2012-11-10.
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