Yahoo! Highlights Search on Home Page

Yahoo made its commitment to search more prominent this week, re-designing the search interface on its highly-trafficked home page to highlight images, yellow pages, and product search features.

The new, longer search box highlights functionality that Yahoo added back in April, giving the search features more prominence. Tabs for images, yellow pages, and product search appear on the front page, in a manner reminiscent of the user interface of rival Google.com. Previously, the more-advanced Yahoo features were only available through search.yahoo.com.

The company painted the move as a way to allow users to more easily and quickly find what they seek. It may also allow Yahoo to increase the volume and targeting of searches on its network — searches it has committed to monetize through the recent acquisition of Overture, and through the services, like Product Search it offers to small businesses.

Yahoo is expected to launch additional vertical search features in the near future. Jeff Weiner, whose title at the company is search czar, said recently that Yahoo would launch topic-specific search for its vertical channels, such as Yahoo Travel, Get Local, Sports and Finance. Weiner also said the company was exploring personalized search.

Yahoo began as a directory-style search portal and has recently moved to return to its roots with the purchases of Inktomi and Overture. Yahoo brought in $140 million in revenues from paid search in 2002, and executives have committed themselves to making search a major focus this year and in the future.

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