Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Yahoo's Mindset

Yahoo is now approaching search results with a little twist by attempting to separate commercial and non-commercial sites. Often times individuals searching for content or products would have their queries bombarded with mixed results; Yahoo is trying to better sort these results with the introduction of their 'Mindset' service. Mindset will still produce the same results for your query, except that within those results users will have the option to utilize the "slider" - with this tool users simply change the position of the slider to either commercial or non-commercial side of the bar and the results will change. This new service will allow for the search results to be better sorted depending on the surfer's interest.

What makes a site a commercial site? That's simple; commercial sites intent is mainly to sell their clients a product or service. A Non-commercial site enables their audience to be exposed to information related to their search. The question of sites overlapping in both content and commercial purposes is a point that Yahoo has address; they leave leeway allowing room for these combo sites to have a range of +2 thru -2 on their sliding scale. Combo sites fall in-between with 0 representing an equal blend of commercial and informational sites.

How did the scoring system fall into place; well initially Yahoo had a set of seed sites that were scored manually by Yahoos team. Within the search results the Urls are also ranked according to relevancy and done so with color-coded bars, which users can view directly under the search results. You will see a blue bar on the left hand side for the commercial sites and an orange bar on the right hand side for informational sites. Also the length of the bar serves as a relevancy tool, the longer the bar the more 'absolute' the result is considered to be. Another indicator to look for are the numbers in parentheses that indicate the default ranking for the initial search query. Although the results change every time users slide the slider left or right the default ranking of the sites will remain the same.

To test out Yahoos Mindset service visit http://mindset.research.yahoo.com, keep in mind that this service is still in its beta test phase, so free to provide feedback to help improve Yahoos' mindset.