Yahoo Incorporated is quietly testing a search engine which users can customize by adding, removing and rearranging components. Yahoo Alpha, which is hosted on an Australian domain, offers a default results page with a list of Web sites on the left hand column and six specialty search result boxes on the right hand column. To customize the layout and search sources, users need to log into Yahoo. Yahoo Alpha seems targeted at end users interested in creating a search page tailored to their interests. Apparently, inserting a search results page from any Web site that syndicates its content via Really Simple Syndication is another possibility. Users can share their Yahoo Alpha search pages with others.
The specialty boxes display results from three Yahoo search engines: the Flickr photo service, the Answers question-and-answer service and Yahoo News. It also returns non-Yahoo results from Google's YouTube video site and from the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia. Finally, it has a box for displaying search ads from Yahoo's online ad network. When asked for comment and details about Yahoo Alpha, which is in the beta stage, the company would provide only the following statement: "This is a very early prototype and we are always testing new products and services to get feedback from our users on improving the user experience."