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Jeff Weiner Talking At Yahoo Analyst Day

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I'm at Yahoo's Analyst Day today, and I thought I'd give a shot at live blogging a session or two. We'll see how it goes, starting with Jeff Weiner, senior vice president, search and marketplace, at Yahoo. He's doing the first session focused exclusively on search, though Lloyd Braun, speaking now, has touched on a few things -- including the new Yahoo Finance charts to come, which look to bring Yahoo up to what Google rolled out with Google Finance.

Slide on web search market size, basically says lots of people search, 1 billion queries estimated worldwide per day, Asia largest growing market, $15 billion estimated in paid search this year, so Yahoo cares about search :)

Differentiating now, web search quality, user experience, vertical search, multimedia search -- all stated briefly as things making Yahoo different but mainly a lead in to what he says is the big differentiator, social search.

Now the generations of search. Newsgroups said to be the closest proxy to search in the early 1990. The alpha chip allowed participation to scale from scientists on newsgroups to millions of webmasters and publishers on the web. (hmm, ok, jeff). Then Inktomi and Google go from millions of web sites hand categorized to billions of pages indexed. And now the next jump -- billions of people on the planet with knowledge. How do you get it?

Now a competitive landscape chart, too quickly to record. Here comes FUSE! You know FUSE, Find Use Share & Expand vision that Yahoo's pitched the past year. Share is at the heart of what they want to do, seeing that as a way to grow.

The Social Search Strategy: get a critical mass of high-quality content (and sadly with My Web, so far they haven't done that, but it might still come. Delicious, Flickr are already successful in their own ways. Also to leverage meta data. "Better search through people" is another motto put out there.

Knowledge Search -- hey, it's Yahoo Answers, with now having 10 million answers maybe is a critical mass success. Here's a personal anecdote from him on using it. Esther Dyson says something about The Queen (ruler of my wife's country) talking about the world smelling like fresh paint. What the hell does that mean? He goes to Yahoo Answers to get an answer (why do I think I could find it in regular web search in only a few minutes -- I'll try later).

Hey! Hey, hey, hey -- OK, now Yahoo has picked up the queen thinks the world smells like fresh paint from Yahoo Answers and puts it at the top of Yahoo regular/web search.

Much of the world has it now, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Latin America to get it soon.

Moving on to Yahoo Groups, which has a Yahoo Answers module in it now. Here come numbers. Yahoo Groups has 6 million groups, 90 million members participating. "That's a lot of knowledge. That's a lot of untapped knowledge." Especially people who might not have the tech savvy to publish in other ways. Sure -- but come, it hasn't been that hard to do web pages or dare I saw blogs.

Now social bookmarking, good it's said to get opinions and trusted sources rather than factual stuff web search is said to be good at. Jaguar typed into Yahoo, first thing in your mind? Car -- "yeah, for this audience it is," he says. Oh, here it comes -- multiple meanings of Jaguar. I've got stuff MSN talked about years ago showing how there are different meanings (and they had a good system to give you different options). On delicious, most searches for jaguar bring up the operating system. He calls this flavoring. What happens if you take these flavors search experiences from Groups and put it into Yahoo search. "Powerful stuff." Yep, if they do it.

Social media -- it's Flickr time as the eyes of the world. Flickr is changing our society right before our eyes. Wow -- but I supposed so. Goodness knows it's even got me using it :)

Now marry the eyes of the world with the world's most popular home page -- that's Flickr on Yahoo, plus Flickr being on the Nokia N-Series multimedia computers (you know, their smartphones).

Yahoo Video search is coming and will allow sharing. Yeah, so take that YouTube, Google Video. Well, we'll see. Flickr should give them some help here, though.

Monetization! Sponsored listings, graphical media, sponsorships, subscriptions, marketplaces for people to sell -- some of these will come to various new search properties.

Accomplishments. Yahoo Answers out of beta and going general and the 10 million answers I said earlier and a warning that don't expect that number to necessarily be updated going forward. Up from 1 million users in Jan to 7 million know.

Taiwan, got Yahoo Knowledge and grew share in 2004 through 2005.

My Web is mentioned, a redesign is coming in the next few weeks.

Flickr, with the founders on the cover of Newsweek and them making the Time 100 most influential people list (hey, congrats!). 260 million photo tags out there, so don't think these are niche properties. "These properties are changing the world."

Social search is equal to 30 percent of overall web search.

It was never about man versus machine. It was about man with machine -- and that fuels FUSE vision, which is how Yahoo believes it will once again change the game.

Questions (to panel of all speakers from the morning, answers from Jeff unless I note otherwise)

What incentives rolling out to help with participation? Personal, social and economic he says. Personal utility for individuals, get an answer, you want to use it again. Social -- helping people plus getting some ego boost. It's amazing how that's been driving things, he says. It is very much part of what's made Flickr and other properties successful. Economic lightly touched on content match but think he may have meant YPN. It is not as simple as making economic systems he stresses, especially if a system is built on generosity.

How about reputation and trust in social search. The reputation system will be at the heart of ensuring quality. Yahoo Answers is about to get that in a few weeks, so you can see how reputable others are.

What's the deal with query share loss in the use but gaining monetization nonetheless? I don't think there's any one factor, many different dimensions, he thinks social search are making a diffference, getting new customers and much more integration is to come.

What's the deal with query share loss in the use but gaining monetization nonetheless? I don't think there's any one factor, many different dimensions, he thinks social search are making a diffference, getting new customers and much more integration is to come.

It's Safa Rashtchy from Piper Jaffray -- he typed the queen query into Google and got the page from Yahoo.  Jeff -- they've been always after high quality, he jokes. Safa - you're happy helping Google with quality. Jeff -- it drives traffic to us. Yes, absolutely. I'm sure Yahoo's thrilled to have their pages everywhere. Safa, how come sharing and answers didn't take off before until Wikipedia. Jeff -- search is far more part of our lives, as is the way we share with others, sharing "has only started to grow." Knowledge search in Korea took off because knowledge corpus there was much smaller. In the US, felt it was already so large, what difference would it make. Then chief engineer played with tools in Taiwan, said this isn't about search, this is about community and sharing -- and that's powerful.


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