You’ve probably heard the news by now that Yahoo! has opened up its search engine through a comprehensive range of APIs. Our parent site GigaOm has coverage of the industry implications, but our interest is more in the practical uses for web workers. Fortunately, even though the public launch was only last night, Yahoo! has been working with a variety of alpha partners. Here’s a quick look at some of the sites that are using the Yahoo! APIs.
Cluuz takes the Yahoo results and runs them through semantic cluster analysis. Then it presents the results to you with a fresh layer of organization: important people are and terms get their own links, there’s a tag cloud to let you get an overview of hte results, and similar pages are grouped together. The display is faster than you might think, because the basic results are delivered first and then the tag cloud is built before your eyes. Cluuz is at its best when you’re starting with a general term and want to drill in to more details while seeing what the web considers most important.
Daylife, a news aggregation site that we’ve mentioned before, has introduced a Yahoo! search module as part of its customization wizard. The customization features are in private beta, so I couldn’t try this one out, but the net result should be to allow you to build a personalized news portal driven in part by Yahoo! search results.
hakia is also in the semantic search business. They’re at their best in finding pages that answer questions like “what are the benefits of telecommuting?”; for single-word queries, they don’t seem to offer much over the raw Yahoo! results. Hakia also lets you open a conversation room for any search result, hoping to add a social aspect to searching, though as yet this seems to be pretty underused.
Me.dium, a “social browser” company that was covered previously by GigaOm, is also hooking into the Yahoo! results. Their social search engine bills itself as “search what the crowds are surfing,” hooking up information from where its users are navigating to suggest results. The result is to bubble recent and newsmaking sites to the top of the list – for example, right now a search for “telecommute” highlights a story about Lively and its impact on telecommuters, as well as a recent job posting.
Of the four featured launch partners, I found Cluuz to be the most immediately useful; its results groupings really do help to narrow down broad searches to more focused ones. Hakia and Me.dium tell me that most people aren’t searching for the things that I’m interested in. The Daylife customization wizard looks interesting, but I’m reserving judgement until I can actually kick the tires.