Yahoo Gets Into Your Mindset

    June 1, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

A different approach to searching lets users tilt the results they see toward commercial or informative.

Yahoo’s new Mindset search engine, currently made available as a beta version, has the neatest tool on a web site one will find. A slider at the top of the results of a search allows a user to alter those results.

That adjustment can be one of two ways along the slider path. Going right skews the displayed results toward those deemed more informative. Moving left brings more commercial results into view.

Yahoo refers to commercial results as those that try to sell the user something. Informative pages should be those where opinions, research articles, or recorded facts about a topic dominate the result list.

Yahoo states very directly that the site is in beta version. Test results of a search on Sherlock Holmes yielded some interesting results.

A default search for the world’s greatest consulting detective yielded the Sherlock Holmes Museum as the first link returned.

Moving the slider to the commercial left brings up a top link to for the Complete Sherlock Holmes, which contains all 4 novels and 56 short stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle about the detective.

Most users would consider that top result a reasonable one for a commercial search on Sherlock Holmes. But sending the slider all the way to the research right brings up what might be thought of as a true research result.

The first result linked to the open source project Sherlock Holmes Search Engine. That engine isn’t dedicated to all things Sherlockian, though. It’s a true universal search engine that works on local machines or over a network.

The Mindset engine attempts to adjust its page as the slider is moved back and forth. For now, the engine provides an interesting step toward a more personal search experience.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.