Yahoo My Web personalized search beta goes live

Game on! Yahoo has just announced (and launched) a “beta” personalized search mechanism named My Web (a rebranding and enhancement to its previous My Yahoo Search offering).

There’s a lot here, so let’s try to break it down.

First, you need to login and create a My Web account (nothing to it)

Second, you need to activate My Web (not really necessary, but a solid opportunity for Yahoo! to push its updated toolbar at you, which includes My Web functionality). During this phase you’ll be given the opportunity to import your Yahoo Bookmarks, etc… which is nice… albeit a bit confusing (IMHO).

Finally, you’re free to start searching the web. As they say on Cribs, “this is where the magic happens.” ;-)

When searching, you’re given a link to Save a given search result listing. For example, if you search for buzzhit, you’ll see a Save link next to the “more from this site” and “cached” links that you’re likely overly familiar with.

When you click the Save link, you’re given an opportunity to add a text “note” (i.e., tag) and a folder to save the listing to.

From here, there are two things of note:

1. Going forward, if your annotated site is displayed in another search result set, you’ll see (and be able to edit) your notes and the save folder.

2. You can go to the My Web “control panel” (not clear what to call it) and browse and search your Saved listings (title, description, note, etc); very handy, especially for doing multi-session research projects.

Don’t want to save individual sites? No problem. Just like A9 and Google’s new personalized search offering, all of your search terms are automatically saved if you enabled the “my search history” option. [Note: This feature appears to be broken at the time of this writing.]

Okay. All of that seems pretty obvious. The twist, then, is that your saved listings can be shared. How? Well, as an RSS Feed, of course. And via an API. And (timing to be announced) via Yahoo 360. In fact, Yahoo is even supporting (to my pleasant surprise) the ability to format and share this data in (a version of) Attention.xml format. (Don’t confuse this with real support for Attention.xml, but hey, it’s a start.)

I’m heading off waaaay too early in the morning for LA to hit the Media Center’s Mobile Media conference… more thoughts later this week.

Update:
Niall Kennedy talks about the Attention.xml angle and provides a public example (skip the example if you don’t grok “raw” XML).

Greg Linden does what I’d normally do when I have time; compare it to other offerings. Greg does a solid job, though I’d disagree somewhat w.r.t. his assertion about the Save option being available at the wrong time; perhaps, but the incremental effort and cost of pushing the button is really low… it’s really no different than bookmarking (yea?), except that users can annotate, search, share, etc the listings if they desire.

Also… expect to eventually see Yahoo push publishers for distribution of a “Yahoo My Web Save This Page” button (ala the MyYahoo RSS buttons and the Y! Q search in-situ buttons); of course publishers will want to help My Web users who aren’t using the new toolbar save their pages, right? Riiiiggght.

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One comment on “Yahoo My Web personalized search beta goes live
  1. Greg Linden says:

    Hi, Tony. Great point! I was thinking of Yahoo My Web as a Memex, a way to find anything again that I found at least once before.

    You’re right that Yahoo My Web might be better classified as a bookmarking tool. Depending on how My Web is integrated into Yahoo 360, I could see it eventually in competition with del.icio.us.