Beyond Blue Links: Yahoo Looks at Social Avenues and Better Search

Since the time they lost the lead they had in the search industry Yahoo and Microsoft have been trying almost everything to wrest control from Google, even to the extent of getting married to each other. However, I guess with most of last year going in the talks and then the failure of the talks, both firms have realized they need to look beyond search for some while and not try to build another Google and instead better it.

In line with this thought, Yahoo has announced that is now shopping for newer features and better tools to integrate into its product portfolio. It had earlier discarded some incumbent products like Geocities earlier this year, and with Jerry Yang stepping down they clearly are on the lookout for some freshness in their now stale system.

Anyway here is what the whole deal is about, “It’s a good time to be buying now,” he told the Reuters Global Technology Summit, pointing to valuations that have come down from levels six to nine months ago. While declining to give specific names, Balogh said Yahoo has had conversations with companies about partnerships and “more interesting” possibilities, such as on building out its platform and basic computing in addition to search.

According to the report, most of these talks are in the social media field where Yahoo actually has two good products already with Delicious and Flickr. Yahoo also plans to introduce the status update feature that Facebook has adopted from Twitter into Yahoo as well.

Better Search

One of the important topics that Balogh said was about improving search. I had been to an event Yahoo had held last year and it showed some of the local search improvements they had made in terms of user experience. Now I personally don’t think it is the best way to go, but integrating a lot of data (a little though not the same as wolfram) is their plan of action. Like the following statement:

“The thing I will tell you is that, core to great experiences for people online may not necessarily be this version of search,” Balogh said. “I believe search is going to be far richer … there’s a whole other round or two to go in the search game and that’s where we intend on playing.”

Mobile Story

Another avenue Yahoo is looking at is mobile. Yahoo already has a sizeable presence in the mobile scene in India, but internationally they are focusing on more products now. He said Yahoo would release a fantasy sports application for Apple Inc’s iPhone this year. “For how many incredible applications we could have and should have, for all the experience on Yahoo, we are terribly under-represented,” Balogh said about Yahoo’s smartphone applications.

To sum it up, this news doesn’t add a lot of value other than raising questions on the moves that Yahoo will make this year including the acquistions.

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