Yahoo launches interactive recipe, shopping and entertainment search tools

Search Yahoo for a recipe or gift this holiday season and you might be surprised by what you see. The company is now greeting recipe and product searchers with interactive, image-based windows atop the search results page to save them time on their internet quests.

The new search tools function like guidebooks for recipe and product queries, letting you filter and compare results, and they even let you log in to Facebook from the search page and share your favorite findings with friends.

The search updates are especially interesting because of how much they’re tailored to the searcher’s intent, with a completely different presentation from the usual list of search results. There’s also a lot of social-sharing and discovery baked into each new experience. Recipe and product results encourage the searcher to engage his or her Facebook friends, and entertainment results leverage Yahoo’s partnership with Twitter to create a real-time environment that Google can’t replicate.

 

  • A recipe search — i.e. any food item plus “recipe” query — will now yield a scrollable window of photos representing the recipes of popular choices from food sites. Searchers can tab through top recipes, quick recipes and low calorie recipes, and filter recipes by ingredients.
    For even more recipe options and ideas, searchers can select the new Yahoo recipe search tab. Here they can use the left-hand menu to sort recipes by preparation time, star rating, diet, meal type, occasion or source.
  • Product-related queries have been spruced up with a flashy scrolling window of photos too, but with results tailored around the comparison shopper. A digital camera search, for instance, will surface an array of cameras (sourced from Yahoo’s Shopping site) with model, price and retail information. Searchers can also filter results by type and price.
  • Yahoo has also enhanced its entertainment results to present searchers with the latest news, videos and tweets on their movie, music and celebrity queries.

“Yahoo has amazing content in almost every major category like sports, finance, local, celebrities, movies, television, music, shopping etc. In the past we have used this content for properties like Yahoo Sports, but never really used it for Search,” Shashi Seth, Yahoo SVP of Search and Marketplaces, told VentureBeat. “Now we have started building a parallel index called the content index, which provides every bit of information about entities. We are using this content index to build these amazing experiences.”

The updates also come at an important time. Holiday recipe and product queries will be on rise and Yahoo’s functionality could help it attract valuable online shoppers away from Google.

Google currently commands 65.3 percent of the U.S. search market, while Yahoo maintains 15.25 percent, according to comScore data for October 2011.