Yahoo’s share of the online search market has been sliding gently since Microsoft introduced its revamped Bing last June. It’s something of a concern for Yahoo, which has teamed up with Microsoft on search advertising in an attempt to rival market leader Google. But it risks becoming an also-ran in the fast-moving business.
During a visit to Yahoo’s Silicon Valley headquarters last week, search chief Shashi Seth admitted to some worries, but said his service can bounce back if it can come up with features to lure new traffic and entice the 600 million customers already using its portal and e-mail service to try its search product as well.
Under the deal with Microsoft, which got regulatory approval last month, Bing provides the basic search results for Yahoo’s search engine, while Yahoo adds on its own features.
“What we are trying to do here is make sure that the Yahoo content properties and things that we do really well, like sports, are tightly integrated into that search experience and vice versa,” said Seth.
In practice, that means a list of movies and related celebrities when you do a search on an actor, or stats when you call up a sports star. A new app for iPhones called ‘Sketch-a-Search” – launched today – lets you draw a shape with your finger on a screen map to find out what restaurants are in the area. Yahoo is looking to expand the app to include other types of local data.