Yahoo recently launched a new feature in search called Yahoo Glue. Yahoo Glue shows search results segregated in different sinks like Yahoo Music, Last.Fm, Wikipedia and Youtube. When i first read about it, i thought this was a kick ass idea. Especially since i was once a avid user of the Firefox plugin Googlepedia which combines google and wikipedia results on a single page. While the over all idea and the implementation seemed quite slick, i discovered a few things which needed to be fixed.
1) Category is more important than source:
For a search engine, category of information is more important than the source of the information (discounting spam). For instance having a box called Last.fm Top tracks makes absolutely no sense in the context of the search request, what makes sense is “Top Tracks” which is the semantic identifier. Same thing holds good for Events, Biography and Videos.
2) Combining results is the prerogative of a search engine:
The first thing i tried when i used this was to check search validness, which is by definition what makes a search engine useful. I searched for “Kenny G”, knowing very well he is playing 2 floors below the Yahoo India office on the 12th of May.
And alas, no listing of the Bangalore event. What makes it even more worse, the event is listed on Upcoming (a yahoo property). This completely destroys the product being
i) Local search
ii) Glue across various sites.
It is imperative for a search engine to parse all kinds of sites and provide the user with a unified view of all that content. If i wanted a distributed search result from each site i would use them individually, the strength of search is the ability to combine them coherently, so i dont have to worry about combining them myself.
I think Events, Videos, Music, Biography, Articles, Talks (numerous others) are tangentials worth pursuing but not at the cost of search quality. The core features of ranking and categorizing need to be spot on for Yahoo Local search to be useful.