Yahoo Search Direct produces instant results, site previews, as a user types
Yahoo on Wednesday debuted Search Direct, a new search engine feature that will offer results and site previews before a search query is even completed.
In a drop-down menu below Yahoo's search box, Search Direct forecasts what a user might be looking for, ranging from links to popular search phrases or even weather listings, depending on what's typed.
Yahoo said the new feature is a "simple search experience that goes beyond a list of blue links," in a not-too-subtle jab at rival Google.com's blue-link list of search results.
Before Google's rise, Yahoo was the dominant search engine of the Internet.
In an attempt to revive its declining search business, Yahoo scrapped its own search engine, letting Microsoft Bing power searches on its websites in a move made last August.
That, so far, hasn't worked out too well for Yahoo, with its search traffic continuing to fall, leaving Bing among those benefiting from Yahoo's drop.
The research firm EMarketer projected that Yahoo's share of the multibillion-dollar search advertising market in the U.S. sank to about 10% in 2010, down from about 13% in 2009.
This year, it's likely that Yahoo's share will drop even lower to about 8% of the market, according to EMarketer.
Google, the leader in the search market, nabbed about a 71% share in 2010 from about 70% in 2009, EMarketer said. And Google's search growth doesn't look to be changing any time soon, the firm said, estimating that the search giant could end up with a nearly 75% share by the end of 2011.
Search Direct is currently only available at search.yahoo.com in the U.S., but Yahoo said it was planning to add the feature to other Yahoo websites and regions later this year. And eventually, Search Direct could pop up on non-Yahoo sites, too, said Jason Khoury, a Yahoo spokesman.
"This is exclusive to yahoo right now, but we are looking to expand to partners down the road," Khoury said.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Video: Search Direct in action. Image: Search Direct on search.yahoo.com. Credit: Yahoo