New UI for search engines popping up

Just a couple of days I was searching on Yahoo! and noticed some special results for linkedin. See a search for my name:

Note the little icons on the right to get an explanation, send the link to a friend or stop getting this type of result.

And that made me think of some recent changes in Google search results when the page comes from a forum or a group. Here’s an example:

Note how you can see some details about the forum post, number of replies, etc.

This morning James pointed out how in Google a new interface has appeared and lets you add, edit or remove results. Here is how the interface looks for one result:

Depending on the position and result, the icons appear and disappear (you can’t promote to a higher position a result that is already at the top, of course) and also another icon to remove the result appears. At the bottom of the page a few interesting links appear showing you your previous actions and giving you the opportunity to revert your changes or update there. There’s also a link to learn more about SearchWiki. It would be interesting, and maybe it is already coming, to be able to mash up with results from people I know and trust. We’ll see.

After many years of minor tweaks to the Google UI that was replicated by most if not all search engines, we now see some innovation. It’ll be fun!

Did Google affect how I search on search engines?

I use Google in 99.9% of my searches on internet. I use it so often, that sometimes it’s just to the URL of a site I know very well, but I can’t spell the address or do not recall exactly (I can never spell the URL of delicious, for example).

I have to say that I’m pretty satisfied with the results and most of the times I find what I am looking for within the first 3-5 results. This could be simply because Google is good, isn’t this the reason why we all use it?

Nevertheless, from time to time I try other search engines such as Ask or Yahoo! and hardly find better results. I’d say that on an average I find worse results.
Still, I have friends who use Ask or Yahoo! and say they are much better.

Now I wonder: “Are the results on Google better just because Google is better, or is it because I am so used to it that my search terms work well with Google? What if my search syntax was optimized for Google-searches? What if Ask had a much better catalogue, but used a different categorization?”

Of course, search engines should return the best result not matter what, but if my keywords are not “natural”, but adapted to the approach Google has to content, then it’s not the search engine that is wrong (maybe). So how can I objectively judge the quality of the results? Also, won’t the quality of results always be subjective?

Yahoo! Mobile also local BETA

I took a look at the Beta version of the new mobile version of Yahoo!. I tested on an iPhone and I have to say that I really like the design and functionality. When you’re logged in with your account you get e-mails, your selected news and so on. Pretty good.

I searched for information about Dublin where I was at the moment of the test:

What i liked is that as soon as I specified my location (the default location was set to San Francisco, USA) it provided a number of links for local services. That was really good. I love movies, so I checked for the local cinemas to see if I should go watch any newly released movie:

Too bad that when checking for cinemas it “moved” my location to Dublin, Ohio!! I’ve never been to Ohio, but I’m sure Dublin must be a nice town, just not where I was.
It’s OK, it’s a Beta, you don’t expect everything to be perfect. I was positively surprised it recognized Dublin in Ireland in the first place, so I expected it to support any location.

I really look forward for the worldwide release of the new mobile site, looks very promising. The interface was clearly very optimized for the iPhone, using the style to show buttons on top of the page and so on. I’ll need to test on some other mobile device, maybe lower end.