KDnuggets : News : 2008 : n06 : item28 < PREVIOUS | NEXT >


Subject: Where's Search Heading? Ask Yahoo's Chief Scientist

By Kevin Newcomb, Search Engine Watch, Mar 20, 2008

While Google has dominated the search space for the past few years, Yahoo has held its own as a respectable number two. But it's not content to remain there, and is in the midst of rolling out a whole new approach to search. While many of the details have not yet been discussed publicly, we do know that Yahoo is taking a task-based approach to its search strategy, improving results to focus on the user's task stage, according to Andrew Tomkins, chief scientist for search at Yahoo.

A search engine can make changes in two basic ways to today's search experience. It can take a top-down approach, starting with the user, and make changes to the way it understands and processes queries. Or it can take a bottom-up approach, improving the way the search engine extracts information and understands the content it has indexed.

At Yahoo, as at other search engines, researchers are approaching search from both directions. The common theme behind everything they're doing is to make it easier for users to accomplish their tasks and get things done, according to Tomkins.

Tomkins spent the last few years at Yahoo Research, working on projects that will guide the future of Yahoo Search. A few months ago, he was named chief scientist for web search. In his new role, he is putting some of those research projects into action.

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