In the middle of May, Yahoo sent out a call to developers to develop customized search results using their SearchMonkey platform. Today, Yahoo announced the availability of Yahoo! Search Gallery. Search Gallery serves as a showcase for custom search add-ons that have been developed, such as Yelp, Last.fm, and LinkedIn.
Yahoo has a great concept here and one that could greatly improve the search experience for users. I was genuinely excited that customized results from sites that I frequent would magically find their way into my regular searches. While I still think that this is a good idea, the actual implementation needs some work.
Searching for restaurants, names, and other things that you would expect to throw back customized search results often does not. In the case of a search for my name, the LinkedIn entry was thrown in at the bottom of the page. Since I had explicitly told Yahoo Search that I want information from LinkedIn to show up in my searches, I would expect them to be given "above the fold" priority.
I had to fool around with it for awhile before it would throw back a customized result for one of my favorite local restaurants, which is absolutely listed on Yelp, and even then it would not give me anything. It was not until I added the word "yelp" to the search that I saw a customized listing and it was a local.yahoo.com one instead of one from Yelp. There are obviously restaurants that custom results work for, but there is no reason why it shouldn't work on any Yelp listed restaurant that comes to mind.
All complaints aside, this technology is definitely something to get excited about, but the implementation (whether on Yahoo's end or the 3rd party developer's end) is just not there quite yet. Look for this to make a big impact when they finally get it right.