Yahoo today launched what it's calling the "new Yahoo Search." The biggest changes are the introduction of Search Assist, a pre-search query refinement tool that Yahoo has been testing since July; and blended search results that include more photos, videos, and Shortcuts.
Search Assist refines queries by providing related topics as searchers type to assist them in finding the right search term. It's similar to Yahoo's Search Suggest feature, which as the name implies suggests alternate queries, but Search Assist goes further by offering related topics as well as specific suggested queries as searchers type. This kind of recommendation and discovery tool is part of the Ask 3D interface, which offers pre-search query refinement suggestions and post-search related categories.
Blended search results are now available on all the top engines, with recent launches of Google Universal Search, Ask 3D, and Microsoft Live Search. Yahoo's version is closer to Microsoft's and Google's in that it includes multimedia results within the main results, instead of in designated areas like Ask uses.
Results are pulled from Yahoo properties, like Flickr, Upcoming, and Yahoo Answers; as well as third-party sites like YouTube. New today are the video inline results and Flickr inline results, as well as the Upcoming.org shortcuts.
"One thing we've learned since launching our own algorithmic search engine back in 2004 is that at the end of the day, people really don't want to search; they want to get things done," Tim Mayer, VP of search products, wrote on the Yahoo Search Blog. "Today, we're launching an all new Yahoo! Search experience that gets users the answers they're looking for quickly and easily, and often in one search."