Category Archives: Yahoo

Yahoo! bungles! it! yet! again!

Unbelievable! Just when I thought Yahoo could not do anything more stupid than they’ve done in the past we learn that Delicious ( is to be axed. The leaked information is on a slide shown at an all hands meeting at Yahoo following the latest staff cutbacks. More details and discussion can be found at Is Yahoo Shutting Down [Update: Yes], R.I.P. Delicious: You Were So Beautiful to Me and Confirmed: Yahoo Closing Buzz, Traffic APIs – Maybe Delicious & AltaVista. Also for the chop are AltaVista and AlltheWeb.

I am not surprised that AltaVista and Alltheweb are to go. For a while they were used by Yahoo as test beds yet now they just sit out there on the web rotting away. But to get rid of one of the most widely known social bookmarking services is lunacy. Delicious has made its way on to millions of web pages with its ‘bookmark with Delicious’ buttons and inclusion in share bars. How hard can it be for Yahoo to make Delicious worth-while in hard-nosed business terms? Chris Keene has several excellent suggestions and comments in his blog posting Delicious. I doubt that any of his arguments would change Yahoo;s mind as Delicious is apparently “off strategy”. This does make one wonder what Yahoo’s strategy is or if it has really ever had one.

Yahoo started off life as a directory of web sites, and not any old web site was granted admittance. You had to apply to the editors with a description of your site and the categories under which you wanted to be listed. You then waited nervously for a couple of weeks for the yay or nay. I can remember the sound of champagne corks popping in my tiny little office at home when I heard the news that my site had been accepted. An entry in the Yahoo directory was the bees knees and worth far more than being picked up by the likes of Lycos (then a serious search engine) or Infoseek. My site is still there, although the directory is now difficult to find (go straight to and has not been updated in years.

In the early days Yahoo was a serious contender for world search engine domination. For a while it used Google to power its web search before acquiring the technology to do its own thing, but it was ahead of the game in other areas. My Yahoo! offered customised start pages long before iGoogle was a twinkle in Page and Brin’s eye. (I still use it for weather forecasts, monitoring my share portfolio and currency exchange rates). Yahoo Finance – again pre-dating Google’s offering by several years – is  far superior in stock market coverage to Google Finance and more stable. The problem with both products is that not many people know about them and Yahoo has not done much with them since their inception. Google, on the other hand, constantly changes, updates and adds new features – sometimes to the great annoyance of users.

Remember AlltheWeb Live Search? This was a search engine that started to display results as soon as you started typing in your terms and the results changed as you entered more words. Sound familiar? Yes, Google Instant works in a similar way but AlltheWeb’s version was far superior and easier to use. Yahoo dropped it.

Yahoo Mindset? Another test search engine in which you moved a slider bar to change the emphasis of the results to sites that had more to do with shopping or ones that were more research oriented. It was very popular with those who knew about it. Yahoo dropped it.

So what are users of Delicious to do? The good news is that you can export your bookmarks and then import to other services. The bad news is that some have reported that the tags go awry. I vaguely recollect having this problem a while back when I was testing out social bookmark sites and how well they coped with exports/imports.  For further information on alternatives see Search Engine Land’s 10 Alternatives To Bookmarking. You may prefer to sit tight in the hope that Delicious is reprieved but at least export your bookmarks now so you have a backup, and start looking at the alternatives. Of course, those could  also disappear.

Yahoo seems to be on a downward spiral to the search engine graveyard. Which service is next on the Yahoo executioner’s list, I wonder? I can’t believe that it would drop Flickr but then I thought Delicious would be safe. Now, where do I sign up for Picasa?

Internet Search: a challenging and ever changing landscape

CILIP in the Thames Valley evening meeting

Date & Time: Tuesday 6th October 2009,  1800 for 1830 hrs
Location: Great Expectations, 33 London St, Reading

Google threatens to go hyper with its “caffeine” search. Bing is taking over Yahoo. Image search options are expanding: creative commons, colour, similar images. More specialist search tools for the “hidden web” are emerging and Web 2.0 is now an essential part of the search mix. Karen Blakeman will look at the new services that are being pushed out by the major search engines and the alternatives.

This is a free event followed by free refreshments and networking opportunities with colleagues.

An invitation is extended to anyone with a professional interest in the topic

Contact: Norman Briggs, to advise attendance for catering purposes.

Searching for file types made easy

One of the Top 10 Tips that participants of my advanced search workshops regularly come up with is using file format options to focus your search. If you are looking for an expert on a topic, a conference presentation or a quick overview of a topic then seek out PowerPoint files; government and industry reports are often stored as PDFs; and substantial collections of statistics may be left in Excel format. Both Google and Yahoo have options for file type searches on their advanced search screens, but if you want a quick and easy way of searching both of these search tools for the four main file types (Word, Excel, PDF, PowerPoint), then head for DocJax.

Simply type your search terms into the box and DocJax will pull up a list of all four file formats in Yahoo and Google that contain your terms. You can then limit your search to just one file type by clicking on one of the four logos at the top of the list.


I have only one minor quibble with DocJax, which is that it does not deduplicate the results. Other than that, it is an excellent tool for filetype searching. Many thanks to Peter Guillaume for alerting me to the service.

If you prefer to search Yahoo and Google separately, then try Browsys Advanced Finder. Select Files form the menu at the top of the screen, enter your search terms and click on Yahoo or Google for your preferred file type. There is no need to re-enter your search terms for each search – just click your way through the list.


I usually berate such services for not including Bing (formerly Microsoft Live Search) in their lists because Bing does sometimes come up with unique content. Although not included in Bing’s advanced search options one used to be able to simply incorporate the filetype: command followed by the file extension in the search. On testing it today, though, I discovered that the filetype command no longer works in Bing. Like the link and linkdomain commands, it has been obliterated from their search system. Another example of Bing dumbing down their search. This does not bode well for Yahoo: as part of the recent Microsoft deal, Microsoft will power Yahoo search and as a result Yahoo will lose many of its current search features. I’m afraid that rather than stealing market share from Google, Bing’s current approach to search will encourage users to stay with the big G.

New home page for Yahoo! UK & Ireland

… and it is GHASTLY!

It is Monday morning and on my of list of things-to-do when I fire up my laptop is to check My Yahoo! This is where I monitor stocks and shares, news headlines, weather forecasts and have tools such as currency conversion. Before going to My Yahoo I always go to the main Yahoo! UK & Ireland page to view the national and international headlines and see what’s new. This morning was a real shock. The home page has changed dramatically and not for the good.

Yahoo UK & Ireland new home page

Apart from the hideous colours and layout there is no direct link to My Yahoo any more. It is now under ‘All Yahoo Services’ (in very small type on the right hand side). The ‘My Apps’ on the left are definitely not My Yahoo apart from the weather forecast and the stock trader. The latter clearly does not work in this context as it tells me that today my stocks and shares are up GBP 270,165.49 and that my portfolios are worth 2,907,437.49. In my dreams! I am not interested in horoscopes, mailboxes, videos and eBay but there does not seem to be any way of getting rid of them.

Thankfully is still plain vanilla. I have now bookmarked My Yahoo and won’t bother in future with the Yahoo home page. I am now wondering what Yahoo has in store for us next.

Yahoo! drops Boolean NOT operator

I go away on holiday for three weeks and on my return disaster strikes. ” Yahoo! drops Boolean support” was the headline that jumped out at me as I fired up my RSS reader.  The story, carried by Pandia Search Engine News, refers to a report by Greg Notess in Online Magazine. I was not able to access the original in Online so had to make do with Pandia’s summary and test out the claims myself.

It turns out that it is only the NOT operator that has vanished. Not such a catastrophe after all as you can still place a minus sign in front of the term that you want excluded from the search results. The posting goes on to say that nesting with parentheses has also been dumped. That was definitely not the case when I carried out test searches on both the UK and US versions of Yahoo. All of my nested Boolean searches worked, once I had replaced the NOTs with minus signs.

I shall wait a a week or so before assuming that the change is permanent.  Earlier this year, the link and linkdomain commands went AWOL. They were no longer available on the main Yahoo sites but still worked on AltaVista. After a couple of days they reappeared on Yahoo as suddenly as they had vanished.  Hopefully NOT will be back – it is easier to remember to use only Boolean operators rather than a mixture of Boolean and math signs – and fingers crossed that none of the other commands disappear.

Yahoo suggests

Yahoo has launched Yahoo search suggestions. This feature is not entirely new as it has been available in the Firefox Yahoo! Toolbar for a while. Like the Google version it comes up with changing suggestions for search terms as you type. Unlike the Google version, it is only available on its .com interface and it does not give you an estimate of the number of results for each strategy. (See below for screen shots of the two services ). Neither is ‘suggest’ available on the vanilla search screens such as

It annoys me no end when search engines roll out and advertise features that are only available on their .com sites, especially when many of these engines automatically redirect you to your local country version. I hope that Yahoo enables this feature world-wide and soon. Meanwhile, I shall continue with my local UK version.

Figure 1: Yahoo! Suggests for gordon brown

Yahoo Suggests

Figure 2: Google Suggests for gordon brown

Google Suggests

Yahoo! Alpha spotted

Amit Agarwal has reported on a new version of Yahoo! called Yahoo! Alpha at It has a minimalist home page, which has become de rigueur for search engines these days, and a single search box. The results page displays the usual list of web pages and on the right hand side you can opt to view results from Flickr, Yahoo Answers, YouTube, Yahoo News, Wikipedia and Sponsored links.

Yahoo Alpha

In the top right hand corner there is an option to Customise this page that enables you to remove one or more of the resources and to add your own.

I was initially intrigued by this but found it rather slow to respond and not as slick or responsive as, which is testing out a similar approach to searching. Missing from both Askx and Yahoo Alpha is an obvious Advanced Search link. Both are in Beta and worth watching to see how they develop. takes link commands offline

Those of you who use the link commands in will have noticed that over the past week link: and linkdomain: have been returning blank results pages. This is not a temporary glitch but has been done on purpose by Live. According to their blog:

” We have been seeing broad use of these features by legitimate users but unfortunately also what appears to be mass automated usage for data mining. So for now, we have made the tough call to block all queries with these operators. We are doing our best to get this back online as soon as possible in a manner that allows folks that use this functionality for real queries.”

The linkfromdomain: command, which lists all the pages that a web site links to, is still working.

While Live makes up its mind about what to do with the commands try link and linkdomain in Yahoo. The results are not always as comprehensive as’s but will probably suffice in most situations. The syntax for the Yahoo’s link command is slightly different. To find pages that link to a specific page on a site it is:


Note that you must include the ‘http://’

To find pages that link to any page on a site the syntax is similar to Live’s:

Google also has a link command but it displays a small fraction of the results.

Yahoo! Babel Fish – Translation

Yahoo have integrated the Babel Fish translation tool into their service. Originally part of AltaVista, which Yahoo owns, Babel Fish looks very much the same in its new home. Additions include:

  • Two more language pair choices: Simplified Chinese into Traditional Chinese, and Traditional Chinese into Simplified Chinese;
  • Yahoo search results now include a translation link next to foreign language pages when a Babel Fish language pair is available
  • You can add the Babel Fish button to your Yahoo Toolbar for one-click translation of web pages

It has more language pairs than Google, but Google’s offering has Arabic to English translation.

If you have never tried any of these tools before, do not expect too much from them. Remember it is a computer program not a human being preparing the translation. The results are often more humorous than accurate, and sometimes the tools give up completely, but there is usually enough to give you a rough idea of some of the content of the page.

What is a Babel fish? It is a fictional species of fish that appears in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. You stick it in your ear and you can immediately understand anything that is said to you in any language.