Starting this week, searchers on Yahoo will start to see a little "Powered by Bing" message at the bottom of the results page, as the two companies start the public phase of their huge search deal completed last year.
Yahoo announced the milestone along with several updates to various search products and features that had been up in the air ever since Yahoo and Microsoft signed their search outsourcing deal just over a year ago. Under that deal, Microsoft is to provide the back-end crawling, listing, and ranking technologies that generate search results while Yahoo retains responsibility for presenting those results on search pages.
Webmasters who had worked with Yahoo search products such as BOSS (build your own search service) can breath a sigh of relief, as that product will continue, Yahoo said. However, Yahoo will start charging developers to use the service, which had previously been free.
Also, publishers who had been using Yahoo's Search Monkey galleries and applications for highlighting search results will have to figure out a new strategy, as that product is going away. Yahoo isn't giving up on the notion of semantic search--structured content displayed alongside crawled search results--by any means. But instead of having developers create apps for Yahoo, Web site publishers can just add enhanced listing information using standard formats--Google's approach--and have them displayed in search results.
One potentially confusing aspect of the transition involves the fact that even though results on Yahoo pages will be powered by Microsoft, Webmasters that need to report problems or highlight new sites within Yahoo will need to use Yahoo's Site Explorer for Yahoo pages, and Microsoft's Bing Webmaster Central for Bing pages. That's because the transition is rolling out first in the U.S. and Canada, and it will be some time before results in other parts of the world are powered by Bing.