Yahoo is making Web search faster by introducing new ways of predicting what users are looking for, while seeking to keep pace with rivals by including video, audio and picture results as answers to text searches.
The company said the new features it announced on Monday were aimed at better understanding the intention of users conducting particular types of searches and to get them to the information they desire within a single search.
Yahoo said it was trying to combat what it calls "Web search fatigue." Research conducted by Harris Interactive for Yahoo found that roughly 15 per cent of online adults find what want on their first search while most need three to four searches.
Yahoo is seeking to stem the steady gains Google, the dominant supplier of Web search, has made in market share for most of the past two years. Market research firm ComScore said Google's share grew to 56.5 percent of the U.S. Web search market in August, up 1.3 percent from July.
Yahoo Search Assist suggests related concepts to instantly refine a search, drawing on the wealth of information Yahoo has about what users across its sites are saying when they comment upon Web links, photos, video or the like.
Search Assist is designed to be especially helpful when a person is searching for information on an unfamiliar topic. The feature senses when a searcher needs help with a search and it appears as a drop-down menu under the main search results box.
For example, a user seeking information on British Prime Minister Gordon Brown might see suggestions about Gordon Brown and Scotland, Gordon Brown and budget or Gordon Brown and Iraq.