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Search Assist for Images, Coming to a Yahoo Near You


A rose by any other name...

When entering a query into Yahoo's search box, users are presented with text suggestions to narrow down what they're looking for. Image Search will soon provide a parallel feature, with queries for images providing thumbnails for top related search terms.

For example, a search for "roses" in Image Search will yield previews of red roses, Guns N' Roses, or black roses, so users can further refine searches with a clearer mental picture of what they want.

yahoo-search-assist-black-roses.jpg

The feature is live for select results on the Image Search page. It will be launched on the Yahoo home page in the near future, the company said.

Search Assist launched in July '07 and received attention for its ability to "detect" when a user needs help, rather than suggesting add-on keywords like existing search engine offerings.

The feature senses when a person pauses — perhaps because they don't know what they're really looking for — then makes specific proposals based on what previous searchers queried:

yahoo-search-assist.jpg

Using a process that AltaVista conceived in 2002, Yahoo scans the first 20 listings retrieved for an identical search, analyzes the words in those pages, and uses them to pick out 12 additional terms to try — pushing the user to explore topics, not just additional terms, Search Engine Land explained in its review of the feature.

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