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