YQ - Yahoo's New Contextual Search Tool

7 comments
Thread Title:
Y!Q: Adding Context to Search
Thread Description:

Yahoo! have launched a new contextual search technology called Y!Q, a play on 'IQ' (ho ho ho), that allows users to search for results in the context of what they are actually reading.

The idea, spawned by Y! Search chief Jeff Wiener's search for information on Gary Jules wonderful remake of Tears for Fears Mad World, is that you can make queries based on the whole page you are viewing or just passages of selected text. YQ will take that text or page and take out what it perceives as the key terms and search for pages in a similar context and theme.

Trying it out

There are several ways you can use Y!Q - firstly, try the Yahoo! News test page. Then when your appetite is whetted have a go with one of the Demo Bars available for Explorer or Firefox. Firefox users also have seveal other options including using conquery in the way described by Chris Sherman

Once you've installed the toolbar you can highlight any piece of text on a page and click "related search" or just right click and choose the same from the context menu.

Refining Your Results

One of the great things about Y!Q is the ability, with the help of a little DHTML magic, to refine your search once you have the basic results set in front of you. Once you have selected either a whole page or part of one to search, and you have your initial results you'll see a yellow highlighted box at the top of the result set that marks out the key terms that Y!Q thinks relates to your query - for the test i tried, there were about 8. Next to each term is a checkbox and by unchecking a term, you can get refined results and see those results very quickly as the page updates as soon as you uncheck (or re-check) the box - Furthermore, on each of the results you'll see the "more like this" link - clicking that will add that pages terms to your query in an attempt to further refine your search. Nice...

Embedding Y!Q on a Webpage

If all of the above wasn't enough for you, you can Embed Y!Q on any page with just a few lines of JavaScript in the <head>, a <form> and a <div class="yqcontext"> that wraps the part of the page you want to use as the context for searches.

Were I to do that on TW i'd probably use the title of each post - it's not clear whether wrapping a part of the page in the <div> is actually necessary - it says "if you'd like your context to be hightlighted" which would suggest it's optional but if you read the page it's ambiguous. I'll try to get some clarification on that.

Note to Yahoo:
Please make that yqcontext class applicable for anything - it's not always appropriate to wrap parts of a page in a block level element - thanks.

Privacy and Data

There do not appear to be any privacy and "phone home" concerns mentioned in in the Terms and Conditions - it does not appear that the Firefox and Explorer extentions are sending back any more details than the actual search queries you run.

Tell us what you think...

I have to run out and see another house today so won't get time to really play around for a while yet but if you're messin' around with Y!Q please do tell us all what you think - it looks great, and first impressions, despite the rough edges Yahoo! have admitted to (and they've said they have purposely released it this way to get feedback for smoothing it out), are good.

Comments

Preliminary

Preliminary results look really good. In FF, conquery isn't recognizing any search plugins on my browser so that isn't working. Not sure what is going on with that.

So the search looks good, and Y! might be on to something. The implementation on FF (two step process) is going nowhere fast - they need to work on that.

Mac users

No version for mac users so far :( Yahoo! hates them one would say !

For Mac users?

Are you talking about the Y!Q DemoBar?

The Y!Q DHTML overlay works on the Mac, as should the Firefox plug-in.

Good Job Y!

Finally, Yahoo! releases an innovative tool before Google.. I'd love to see what Google will release in rival of Y!Q though.

Firefox

Hey dondiego, welcome to Threadwatch! do please introduce yourself here

I haven't tried it, im a linux guy, but you should be able to use the Firefox toolbar or extensions as i beleive they are platform independent... let us know if it works..

The Y!Q plugin is working for

The Y!Q plugin is working for me on a Mac with Firefox. However, the Conquery extension seems not to work. Still fiddling with it to see if I can get that bit to work.

Using Y!Q in Search Marketing

Has anyone worked out anything cool to use Y!Q for in regards to SEO? - The fact that it shows what Yahoo find to be the important phrases or words on a page must be worth something at least right?

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