Yahoo: Easier SearchMonkey means better search

SearchMonkey offers publishers fancier Yahoo search results, but now Yahoo is trying to make it easier for mainstream Web site operators to use.

Through an eaiser-to-use variation of its SearchMonkey technology, Yahoo search results now can spotlight videos, games, and documents that Web sites label as such with special coding.
Through an easier-to-use variation of its SearchMonkey technology, Yahoo search results now can spotlight videos, games, and documents that Web sites label as such with special coding. (Click to enlarge.) screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

SUNNYVALE, Calif.--Call it SearchMonkey Lite--an easier way for a Web site to spotlight its videos, games, and documents in Yahoo's search results.

Yahoo has been working to let publishers spotlight their content in its search results through a program called SearchMonkey , but the company has concluded the technology's power comes at the expense of ease of use. Now Yahoo is offering a lightweight way to use SearchMonkey that it hopes will make the service approachable to average Web page creators.

The company posted a blog entry with some basic text that can be tweaked then inserted into Web pages. Doing so will mean Yahoo's Web crawling software will recognize videos, games, and documents, and those data types then can be shown prominently alongside the Web address in Yahoo's search results, said Tom Chi, senior director of product for Yahoo search in an interview here at Yahoo headquarters.

"There's very little code required to engage with this," Chi said of the templates Yahoo is offering. "Adding that extra bit of structure helps those who might be less technically experienced."

Yahoo's Tom Chi
Yahoo's Tom Chi Stephen Shankland/CNET

Video results are appearing now, and games and documents should start appearing over the next couple weeks, he said. However, Yahoo will add the results in gradually to ensure its results aren't being gamed or polluted with spam, he added.

Yahoo is trying to make its search more useful and therefore more used, part of its attempt to compete with search leader Google. The more search results are shown, the more opportunities the search provider has to show related advertising.

With this lightweight version of SearchMonkey, search results become more of a destination unto themselves. Right on the search page, the videos can be watched, the games can be played, and the documents can be read. (See screenshot below.)

SearchMonkey relies on Yahoo's search engine finding "structured" data on the Internet--Web sites whose elements have been labeled so computers can know when they've found an address, a video, or other particular types of information. That structured data is a crucial element of what's called the Semantic Web, a years-old idea that computers should be able to understand the meaning and not just the text of Web sites.

"We hope that through programs like this, it'll be possible for publishers to start getting engaged with the Semantic Web," Chi said.

Clicking the video on the Yahoo search page lets it be played directly the search results.
Clicking the video on the Yahoo search page lets it be played directly the search results. screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET
About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

iPhone running slow?

Here are some quick fixes for some of the most common problem in iOS 7.