Yahoo is testing a new search interface called alpha, which meta-searches several Yahoo properties, and also allow users to add their own search service via OpenSearch RSS. Alpha, spotted this week by tech blogger Amit Agarwal, is the product of a Yahoo Australia Hack Day, according to the Alpha blog.
The search results page on Alpha are reminiscent of AskX. For example, a search for [New York Mets] on Alpha and the same search on AskX will show the main search results in the left column, with results from additional properties on the right. For Alpha, this means, Flickr, Yahoo Answers, YouTube, News Search, and Wikipedia by default. It also includes Yahoo's sponsored links results. For AskX, the answers come from Citysearch, Pricegrabber, blinkx, blog and news search.
It's also an expansion of the idea of a Google OneBox or Ask Smart Answer, both of which surface additional content from the search engine or its partners at the top of a page.
If users add their own search services, it becomes a meta-search engine, such as Vivisimo's Clusty, Rollyo, Google's Custom Search Engine, or Yahoo Search Builder. Its RSS remixing abilities are also reminiscent of Yahoo Pipes.