Yahoo! this week announced plans to revolutionize the way search results are compiled and displayed.
Yahoo! speculates that users are searching more often for a thing, rather than a website. This is where WOO comes into place – the plan is to cut out the middle man (website).
Yahoo! recognizes that a webpage is often a means to an end and not the end in itself. This will allow users to connect not with yet another webpage but directly with the item they are really in search of.
Prabhakar Raghavan, Yahoo! Labs & Search Strategy Director explains more:
“The real world we live and work in is full of objects – politicians, professors, monuments, restaurants, neighborhoods. Each has certain attributes, like what kind of food [the restaurant] serves or where it is located.”
“We’re building a view of the world. Say you come with a query; the first thing we do is figure out what this person is intending to do. Then, instead of giving you ten blue links, we give you the object satisfying your intent.”
As an example, if you did a search for “Star Trek” you would get cinema session times, cast listings, critical reviews and other information about the film rather than the films official website and other forums. See the screen shot below:
The bad news for Yahoo? It seems that WOO has failed to impress. Techcrunch is not a fan – here is what they had to say about WOO:
“They’re moving from returning links to returning objects based on user intent. But come on, even after we parse the buzzwords, there’s still not much there. This is the same thing that basically all the search engines have been saying for years now. The web is about more than just links — shocking.
You can call it whatever you want: Objects, rich results, pretty picture things — this alone is not a way Yahoo is going to reverse its search share trend.”
BusinessWeek said “Honestly, no search engine any longer just returns a list of Web sites, so that’s a bit of a red herring to my mind.”
To me, WOO sounds very similar to Google’s Universal Search…. what do you think?