Yahoo! to shift its battle-front

CALIFORNIA: Yahoo! vowed to fight Microsoft on a new frontier, saying that having the software giant power its online searches won’t stop it from battling for the devotion of Web surfers.

Yahoo! executives declared that the pioneering Internet search firm’s campaign to wrest market share from Microsoft and Google isn’t ending, it is only shifting fronts.

Yahoo!’s deal with

Microsoft, if cleared by regulators, will result

in the California firm

using Microsoft’s freshly launched Bing search engine to mine the Internet for results to queries at Yahoo! pages.

Yahoo! said it is refining its pages to present search results in smarter, more intuitive ways that will trump what Microsoft presents with Bing alone.

“The back-end of search is a megawatt war,

and that is what we

are getting out of,” said Prabhakar Raghaven, Yahoo! labs and search strategy senior vice-president.

“We believe the battle has move beyond the back end; we want to fight the battle on the other

end.” Yahoo! stressed its commitment to search while unveiling improvements to its globally popular free Web-based email and instant messaging services to reporters at its headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.

Yahoo! also provided a glimpse at a new search page design it plans to roll out later this year.

“We are committed

to continuing to invest

in search,” said Yahoo! vice-president of search products and design

Larry Cornett.

“This design is going to transform the way you use the Web; make it easier and faster for you to find the things that matter most to you.”

New search design features include using previous queries to automatically figure out what people are seeking and narrowing results so relevant videos or Web pages are presented instead of simply links to Websites.

Searching on people’s names on the Yahoo! pages being tested triggers results including their pages at social-networking websites such as Facebook or microblogging sensation Twitter.

“Searching for people has been Google’s domain; we are going to take that away from them,” Cornett said. “When we launch this, you are going to come to Yahoo! to search for people. This is a very

different search experience.” Google is the overwhelming leader in

a Web search and advertising market which the research firm Forrester estimates will grow by 15 per cent a year to more than $30 billion in 2014 in the United States alone.

With their tie-up announced in July, Microsoft and Yahoo! are hoping to steal market share — and advertising dollars — from Google, the company that has come to define Web search. Under the terms of the agreement, Yahoo! will use the Bing search engine and handle Web ad sales.