Yahoo Joins The Real-Time-Search Party

Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) is testing a “search shortcut” that places real-time results above standard search results for some select queries, the company tells us. In a statement, Yahoo describes the initiative as a “test designed to discover if showing such content is useful” and says that depending on the response it will later determine whether to include real-time results for all users. It follows announcements by both Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) last month that they would index real-time Tweets in their search engines.

The WSJ reported earlier today that Yahoo was partnering with heavily-funded startup OneRiot — which indexes links users share on Twitter, Digg and other social networking sites — to power the real-time results. However, sources say that while OneRiot is in fact a partner, several other real-time search companies are also involved in the effort. A number of startups have entered the space lately, including Collecta and Topsy.

The test is yet another indication that despite its agreement to outsource its search technology to Microsoft, Yahoo continues to innovate on the search front. Yahoo executives have insisted repeatedly that they will continue to control the user interface around their search results. In fact, at last week’s Yahoo analyst meeting, the company showed off a futuristic search interface which completely replaced the standard ten blue links with various modules. So, for instance, a search for ‘Bank of America’ would lead to modules featuring the latest news on the company, its stock price, an overview of its business, and nearby locations.