Does Yahoo Search Direct match up to Google Instant?

On 23 March, Yahoo announced launch of Search Direct. As you begin to type search term in search box, completed search terms will appear in a drop down box, and you will see  the most relevant or top search results in the expanded search box. Yahoo calls it ‘rich answers’.  This is obviously a direct hit against Google Instant.

Yahoo claims it is fast, and the rich content is stored in its own servers, not MS Bing database, though after Search Alliance was rolled out with yahoo results coming from Bing, the search index is drawn from Bing.

Search Direct  is still in beta and covers USA, and content  coverage includes top trending searches, movies, TV, sports teams and players, weather, local, travel, stocks, and shopping categories. You need to go to http://search.yahoo.com/ to experience Search Direct.

So which is better?  To test it out, we typed ‘fuku’ in Search Direct  on 24 March 2011 at 7:45 PM IST.

When you position cursor at search box, immediately, top searches are shown. It was baffling to find ‘2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami -…’  as top news search results.

When ‘fuku’ was typed out, the screen below shows Yahoo’s ‘direct answers’. The top news was dated 23 March 4:40 AM.

Next we tried it on Google. You can see the instant results in this screen, on selecting option ‘fukushima’

google instant for fukushima

google instant for fukushima

Interestingly, Google news results, lower down in page, show real time results. This news item had timeline 24 minutes ago.

Pictured: The robots called in to help prevent nuclear meltdown at Fukushima plant
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:26 PM on 24th March 2011

In yahoo, when you hit back button, you get the initial screen, and you have to start search all over again

Take note that you need to go to http://search.yahoo.com/. When you type ‘fuku’ in http://yahoo.com/  ‘fukushima’ is seventh option, and you do not see direct or instant answers in the page.

For fun, google did show instant results  with ananya seo company website and other links even as we finished typing  ‘anaya seo’, but yahoo direct did not!!

Yahoo says ‘Search Direct predicts search results as fast as a person types, character by character, and presents those results dynamically, generating a fast, simple search experience that goes beyond a list of blue links’. This is clearly aimed at Google Instant.  But the claim is not borne out by our experience.  Search Direct does show more number of search options as you type, and if you point your mouse cursor at an option, the instant results are updated in the expanded search box.

But in Google too, if you press the down arrow key on to an option, the instant results are updated. What is more, the instant results cover the entire page, not a smaller expanded search doox, as in Yahoo.

In the press event, Yahoo suggested it owned patents on Instant Search. It said Search Direct is the next generation of search.

Our analysis shows that Yahoo’s claims as hyping the product, which is closer to a vapor ware now.