Yahoo released a beta search tool yesterday that provides related search results within the context of a Web page in an attempt to provide relevant search results without requiring users to initiate a query.
The service will be available on a Y!Q toolbar, which must be downloaded. It also will be available in a test version on Yahoo news. Related information results appear in a box that floats on the main Web page, much like a popup ad. However, Mozilla, Firefox and other popup blockers won't inhibit it. Also within the box is a “search related info” link to search the related results alone or the entire Web index.
Y!Q went live at http://next.yahoo.com, the area of Yahoo's site that features beta functions. The idea behind Y!Q is to provide the more relevant search answers by applying contextual analysis to the current page. In the demo on its site, Yahoo used the Baltimore Orioles as an example. Search results included information about the baseball team, not the bird.
Yahoo is testing two other Y!Q tools so Webmasters can embed its contextual search results into pages they serve. At the moment, the company said it has no plans to insert advertising into the searches. The company also is making Y!Q available for those who want to put the search feature on blogs and other pages. This will help Yahoo broaden the distribution of its searches.
In other search news, Google Inc. put a local link onto its home page to give more prominence to its local search service in the United States and Canada. Still in beta, the service was previously available by going to the Google Local site, or by clicking on highlighted local results from a query.