Yahoo Launches Mindset

Source Title:
Yahoo Labs Release Yahoo Mindset
Story Text:

What is Mindset? A new twist on search that uses machine learning technology to give you a choice: View Yahoo! Search results sorted according to whether they are more commercial or more informational (i.e., from academic, non-commercial, or research-oriented sources).

Sometimes you want to buy stuff and sometimes you just want to do research. In a typical search page, results point to commercial pages that are mixed together with non-commercial pages, so it's harder to find the type of information you're looking for. Mindset is our attempt to help solve that problem.

So far, I'm loving this. It needs a bit of refinement, but so far, so good. You can test it here at Mindset Research Go ahead, play with the slider. The separation of product SERPs and information SERPs for a good number of phrases I've checked is dramatic, others, less so.

All in all, a firm step in the right direction.


nice thing

I've been playing with it, and i like it. Especially that as you pull the lever from one side to another you keep having 10 results, even though some disappear (that is, new ones appear in stead, duh).

What i don't like is:

  • The massive amount of ads. On a search for mp3 i saw 2 top + 3 bottom + 5 right = 10 ads. That is a 1:1 SERP-to-ad ratio. Granted this is a very commercial term. Still, the top/bottom ads should be removed, imho. As they don't disappear or change when the lever is pulled towards "informational" they blur the appearance of functionality in Mindset somehow. (remember, some users don't know that the ads are ads)
  • That it will only display 10 results regardless of your Yahoo preferences(1). I tried setting my Y! prefs to max (i think 100), but Mindset still only displays 10.

More information in the FAQ. It seems to be essentially the same as the Spacilus thingy nick mentioned here except that Yahoo! has done the filter training in advance (and that it's only commercial vs. info, not spam/ham).

So, with Mindset you lean on the classifications of Yahoo while with Spacilus you create your own classifications. Yahoo uses Machine Learning (journal) while Spacilus uses a "Simple Bayesian" approach (afaik). The two techniques are very similar, as the Bayes filtering is technically one method among several in the group "Machine Learning"

I've been suggesting that we'd get those kind of learning tools for a while, it's nice to see them starting to come forward.

(1) By the way, did the Yahoo default number of results switch from 20 to 10 recently, or am I imagining things? I'm sure Yahoo recently dispalyed 20 by default. I remember quite clearly that i found this a major advantage over Google.

10/20 results

I believe that on the regular site you can set your preference for the number of results in the advanced search panel. As long as your cookie stays intact it will keep this setting on return visits. If you do not allow cookies the setting will have no effect. At mindset you might not have made this setting, or it is not yet available.

default #

- yes but i was thinking specifically about the default number, not the preferences (max is 100 btw). Well, perhaps i was wrong...

great first step

I'm loving it too. Searching some popular medical terms immediately suggests that this is a tool that is needed.

It's fascinating to search for pages I've built as serious information pages on commercial sites and watch how they move. I'm tempted to graph the results and see what they look like.

One mechanical frustration is that on a 1280x1024 screen, I can't move the slider and watch all 10 results simultaneously.


This is a very significant step for Yahoo and an excellent way for Yahoo to differentiate itself from Google in the user's mind. I predict this will be refined quickly and moved to the main search SERP's in the near future.

a good replacement for Google search

- as you ca link to a specific query I'm actually going to replace the Google search on one of my sites with this one (the most visited one, actually).

I've been wanting to link to another SE for a while, but I couldn't make my mind up between MSN, Yahoo, or Ask.


Sidenote: It seems AdSense can't find anything relevant for this topic.
Added: And as soon as I posted that, all ads started to show just fine... odd
Added: And now they're gone again.. really odd



As a keen student of AdSense, it appears that this is not (necessarily) a Goole distaste for Yahoo

For some reason AdSense just cuts in and out for TW, sometimes you get AdSense and sometimes not

The other Yahoo thread at the moment on TW "Yahoo Overnight Reinclusion" gets Adsense, but its for "acne" and for the world I cannot see why!

I wonder

if they are detecting affiliate URLs along with text analysis or if they just use text analysis?

Where are my sites?!?

I am 1,2 and 3 on a query I just made on unfiltered results, but when I slide to commercial results my sites disappear. My sites are about as commercial as you can get. Needs some work if I am going to praise it :)

Had to be done...

Maybe your sites need work. ;)

Damnit man, I want to buy this freaking widget, where's the damn buyme button...


>where's the damn buyme button...

right behind the PPC ads.

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