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Yahoo launches its rumored integration with Yelp

Yahoo now lets searchers access content from the local listings site right from Yahoo's home page.

A Yahoo search page with Yelp integration.

Yahoo's quest to bolster search rolls on.

The company on Monday rolled out an integration with local listings site Yelp, confirming a rumor that the two services had formed a partnership.

The integration -- available on all devices -- lets users who search on Yahoo access information from Yelp right through the Yahoo home page, including ratings, reviews, and pictures. The Yelp listings are pushed near the top of the link stack, and the content appears off to the right, branded with a Yelp logo. Yelp has similar branding deals with Microsoft and Apple. (Google, for its part, displays Google reviews and Zagat-branded content when in comes to local listings).

For Yahoo, the Yelp deal was long overdue. When rumors of the integration first surfaced, a former member of Yahoo's local search team told CNET that part of Yahoo's business was in dire straits. "Yahoo needed to do this investment a long time ago. The platform was just rotting," he said. He also added that Yahoo's proprietary local search technology was inconsistent among markets, making it difficult to push out a globalized effort.

Yahoo is in the midst of a 10-year search deal with Microsoft, in which Microsoft takes care of the core Web-crawling capabilities of Yahoo's home page, while Yahoo still controls the user interface. But there have been rumblings that Yahoo is getting back into core search, with efforts in structured search and search advertising. Either way, the Yelp integration underscores the company's efforts to jazz up its offerings in the search arena.

The integration is also in line with one of Yahoo's overall philosophies: growth through partnerships. CEO Marissa Mayer has said numerous times that Yahoo is a "friendly company" and eager partner to third parties. Anand Chandrasekaran, senior director of product management, echoed that sentiment Wednesday in a blog post announcing the Yelp integration. "At Yahoo, we're always looking to build great partnerships to provide a richer experience for our users," he wrote.