Yahoo! Updates Search Features

Today, alongside a re-vamped front page, search engine Yahoo! has added two new features on its website.

Yahoo is launching a video search tool to compliment its other search options. In a similar layout to Google Images, the tool allows you to search through online movies (example) and offers a screen caption of video results. You can search by specific file type (mpeg, avi, wmv, mov, ram) and like other searches limit the results to specific domains. Yahoo is the first to publicly launch a search engine of this type; it was recently discovered that Google was in negotiation with movie studios, and has been secretly recording content. Interestingly, Google have been recording closed captioned (i.e. content with text for deaf viewers) content making searches that go beyond the file name and into the dialogue possible. Microsoft have plans to launch it's video search systems at CES in January.

Yahoo has also announced that they will be adding traffic information to their existing map service. Information on the level of traffic is collated nationally and fed online into over-laid graphics on maps (see screenshot). The maps also give information on road works going on in specific areas. Currently information is limited to major US cities only, but Yahoo is planning on adding more over the coming months.

In an ongoing and fierce battle for dominance of the search market, companies like Yahoo desperately need to innovate, or face death. Increasingly, users see little difference between the search engines in terms of core functionality; the differences are in the extra features offered, and it's these that make the difference between success and flop. Yahoo might just have scored a long needed victory over its rival Google with these two features.

View: Yahoo Maps | Traffic Info Screenshot

View: Video Search

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