Yahoo Search Introduces Yahoo! Search Direct

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 25, 2011
Updated • Dec 10, 2012
Internet, Yahoo

Instant search results, results that appear before the search engine visitor even started typing, appear to be a relatively new trend that is pushed by search engine companies such as Google, Yahoo or Microsoft. Google introduced its Google Instant feature not long ago which presented auto-updating search result pages to the user. Now it is Yahoo Search with a beta of Yahoo! Search Direct.

At its core, it is almost identical to Google's solution. The search results are automatically updated whenever you enter or remove characters from the search form.

But similarities end there. Yahoo displays an overlay search box on the search page that is automatically updated, while the search results page is updated on Google.

yahoo search direct

A box opens around the search form that indicates the direct search interface. It is made up of the search form and button, a list of suggested search terms and a selection of the top results for the selected term.

If you enter win in the search form you see suggestions for Windows Media Player, Windows Live Messenger, Winrar, Oprah Winfrey, Winzip and Windows Update at the top.

It is possible to switch between those suggested results with the keyboard up and down keys or the mouse. The search results change whenever a new suggested term is selected, or if characters are added or removed from the search term.

yahoo search direct

The results listing displays different results, from the top 3 sites for that search term over shopping information pulled from Yahoo Shopping, interesting locations or places for countries or cities to media information with direct trailer links.

A search for London demonstrates one of the weaknesses of the algorithm. One would expect to find London city information, but the direct result is for the movie London.

yahoo instant search

A click on the search button loads the standard search results. Surprisingly enough, the first search results is either Yahoo's own London visitor guide or the Visit London website. It feels rather strange that the movie is displayed instead in the direct search interface.

The new search interface has only been enabled on and not the main Yahoo domain or a country subdomain. A search on the main Yahoo website on the other hand loads the website where Yahoo Search Direct can be tested.

The way the results are presented will surely drive Yahoo revenues up, considering that many searches only reveal hits from Yahoo Shopping or other Yahoo properties.

It is however just the next logical step for search engines, from indexing and sorting the web, to keeping users on their properties to increase their revenue even more. Google does that as well with integration of their services in the search engine results.

I personally cannot see myself using Yahoo Search Direct. The limit of three results, and sometimes even less, is just not enough most of the time to find what I'm looking for.

What's your impression of the new feature?

Disable Yahoo! Search Direct

It is possible to turn off Yahoo! Search Direct. Click on More > Preferences on the main search website

disable yahoo search direct

Locate Search Direct - Change the Search Direct Layer Frequency on the new page and click the Edit button right beneath the setting. Click on Off and then the Save button to save the new preference.

turn off search direct

These settings are saved temporarily if you are not logged into a Yahoo account, and permanently if you are logged in. Temporarily means that Yahoo saves a cookie on your computer that contains the control. If the cookie is deleted, the information that Yahoo Search Direct has been disabled are lost and the function becomes active again.


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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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