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This week in search

Local search serves as a central focus of all the players at the annual Search Engine Strategies conference.

Local search was a central focus of all the players at the annual Search Engine Strategies conference.

Google, for one, updated its local search tool to include Google Maps, a graphical guide to regional addresses and directions. In addition, it now provides editorial reviews for local businesses, including such data as hours of operation or whether Wi-Fi access is available.

America Online is promoting new search tools that help people home in on local businesses and entertainment--buying movie tickets online or reserving a table at a restaurant, for example. The company plans to launch a new local search service for mobile phones later this year.

Yahoo announced that its search network is embracing Web services and that its commercial subsidiary is taking a new name. The company has created the Yahoo Search Developer Network, which will allow software developers to create new applications (with the aid of application programming interfaces, or APIs) on top of Yahoo search, including images, video, news and local search.

In addition, Yahoo is shedding the Overture Services brand roughly 20 months after Yahoo agreed to pay $1.63 billion for the commercial search pioneer. The company has renamed the unit Yahoo Search Marketing Solutions.

Yahoo, which turned 10 on Wednesday, celebrated by offering a free scoop of ice cream to its customers. People could visit Yahoo to download their coupons for a free 2.5-ounce scoop of their favorite ice cream at any Baskin-Robbins outlet in their neighborhood.

An actual 10-year-old child, however, may be blocked from the free ice cream offer. Under a 1998 federal law called the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, Yahoo isn't permitted to collect information from anyone under 13.