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Yahoo Alpha Goes Beta

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This isn’t a typo: Yahoo!7 is running the search Alpha beta Down Under, offering a customizable start page people can equip with content modules from Yahoo’s properties and others.

Yahoo Alpha Goes Beta
Yahoo Alpha Goes Beta
Who Can Compete with Google?

It’s new, it’s pastel blue, it’s Web 2…dot 0. It’s Yahoo Alpha (beta), ha ha.

Until Amit Agarwal posted the news about Yahoo Alpha at Digital Inspiration, the project was running quietly for users in Australia and New Zealand on Yahoo!7, a partnership between Yahoo and the Seven Network.

As module-based pages go (think Netvibes, Pageflakes, Google Personalized Home) Yahoo Alpha presents a much more economical design. Base choices for content modules on Alpha offer results from web or news search, Flickr, and Yahoo!7 Answers.

They also go off-Yahoo property by making YouTube and Wikipedia results available in modules; users can also choose to have Sponsored Results, a module of paid search advertising, as part of Alpha. An option for custom modules permits users to set up blocks of content drawn from other websites.

Agarwal guessed the Sponsored Results block could be a hint that Yahoo may match Google’s Custom Search Engine by sharing advertising revenue with Alpha’s users.

A search for Tori Amos on Alpha, with the Flickr and YouTube modules open, brings web, photo, and video search results for the artist to the front of the page.

While search is at the core of Alpha’s usefulness, it appears to be just part of the equation. People can create an instant personalized search, with a variety of content from inside and outside Yahoo, on any topic.

Alpha isn’t the first product to do this, but if Yahoo chooses to push Alpha globally in conjunction with their very popular Answers product, it might make a good cornerstone for Yahoo to finally build a social networking strategy on, with all of the pieces they have acquired over the past couple of years.

Yahoo Alpha Goes Beta
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