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Yahoo to Start Keeping Tabs on Your Searches

New Search Pad Feature Helps Searchers Organize Their Info

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I got in touch with a couple of people from Yahoo including Tom Chi, Senior Director of Product Management for Yahoo Search, about their new feature called Search Pad. Essentially, it keeps track of your searches, figures out when you are researching things, and stores results of interest in a virtual notepad you can use for reference. The following video will give you a pretty good idea of what it does:

"Let’s say for example, you are doing research online to buy a new TV," a representative for Yahoo tells me. "Using Search Pad you no longer need to save the sites you are researching as a bunch of links in a document, or in bookmarks or even scribbled on a sticky note. Yahoo!’s Search Pad will intelligently detect your intent to do research online, and then automatically track the websites you want to save by organizing the addresses and information in notes which you can edit, save, delete, print or share."

"Search Pad helps users complete important tasks that require multiple searches over a period of time," she added. Users can always access Search Pad from Yahoo results pages, and add their own notes to entries whenever they feel like it. They can also organize the notes within Search Pad.

Yahoo Search Pad

The rep put me in touch with Tom Chi, Senior Director of Product Management with Yahoo Search, who when asked about a possible mobile version tells me, "At this time, Search Pad is only available on Yahoo! web search, not mobile search; however Yahoo! Search is continually innovating new Yahoo! Search features for our users."

Will Yahoo use any of the data collected for any reason other than to deliver this feature?

Tom Chi "This follows the same data retention policy we have across Yahoo!," explains Chi. "We recently announced a new policy.  Under the new policy, Yahoo! will anonymize user log data within 90 days with limited exceptions for fraud, security and legal obligations. Yahoo! will also expand the policy to apply not only to search log data but also page views, page clicks, ad views and ad clicks."

Will users be able to disable the feature?

"Users can turn the program off for the current session using the drop down menu in the Search Pad display in the upper right area of the Search Results page," he says. "The program can also be turned off indefinitely via the Enable/Disable control in the main Search Preferences which can be found in the Options drop down menu at the top of the Search Results page."

Search Pad is still in its testing phase, and will not be available to the public for a few months. Hopefully it will launch with a minimal amount of bugs as a result. The feature is just the latest example of how Yahoo is striving to set itself apart in search, an industry that is so dominated by Google.

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  • http://www.snerdey.com/templatemonster.html Snerdey

    This is a great idea that Yahoo has come up with. I’m sure this will be a big hit with Yahoo users ;)

    Can’t wait to give it a spin as I multi-task all day long and tend to use my favorites a lot then have to scroll up and down looking for them.

    Cool beans!

    • Chris Crum

      I think a lot of people will enjoy it, but so far reactions seem pretty mixed.

  • http://www.delcampe.com/stores/postman1 Geo

    They should get back into the auction business and leave the searching up to the pros….

  • http://www.eraselimitingbeliefs.com George Lutz

    What a great feature! One that I will most certainly use.

  • http://www.kmike.com/b606.htm Guest

    Personally, my interests are too eclectic and change to quickly for this to be more than another level of distraction while I cut to the core of what I’m researching.

  • Guest

    I need to do lots of searching when I’m doing things for my local charity, from searching for cheapest prices, to finding suitable open source software so I would find this enormously useful.

  • Sharon

    This is one more invasion of privacy and potentially dangerous. Thanks for reminding me not to search on Yahoo. Weren’t they the company who turned in the Chinese guy??

    • Hope Crutti

      I received an email supposedly from Yahoo stating that everyone MUST verify their Yahoo email account within 2 weeks or it will be closed. Does anyone know if this is real, or if someone is trying to hack into our email accounts? Because they’re asking for info such as passwords and such. Anyone who can help, please respond!

      • Chris Crum

        Sounds like a phishing scam to me.

      • http://www.earringsforever.com EarRings

        That email has been around a very long time, don’t click any link from that email and don’t login. Also, yahoo doesn’t close your email account if you have constant activity.

        • Hope Crutti

          Thank you so much for your responses! I’ve never seen that email before, I sure am glad I didn’t click anything!

  • Chris Crum

    It has yet to be released, but will be within the next few months.

  • http://www.politicalchristian.org Guest

    I wonder how many people saying this is a cool new idea are the same ones fussing about the provisions of the Patriot Act. This could provide the path to even greater interference than the Chinese government exercises by censoring some sites. Who knows when our thin skinned prez will want to know who is looking up ‘negative’ information. This would make it easier.

  • http://www.JoeDuvernay.com Joseph Marcel Duvernay

    NO! No kept tabs, please!
    Like many “good ideas” not thought through, this seems another
    spit in the eye of anonymity.
    We in the United States of America once had (and I know it is hard
    in these pre/post modern times to believe it) a right, constitutionally
    quaranteed to PRIVACY, to be left alone.
    But now, under quise of help, a dark-robed assitance; that we
    should be subject to the ideas of apparent ‘reachers’ with no idea of
    the lives sacrificed through man’s history for that “right to be left
    alone” are in fact subject to these constant rehashes, repackages of
    the evil idea, is I think a near sure sign of demise.
    Either hire people who know where man has been or get out of the
    business of serving us.

  • Guest

    No way! This is a horrible thing. I can keep tracj of what I need just fine right now. I don’t need Yahoo’s “help”… and certainly don’t need them keeping track of every move I make.

    Like someone mentioned, this is another invasion of our privacy. No, Idon’t do anything illegal online, but I still don’t want Big Brother sticking their nose where it Constitutionally does not belong. That includes Yahoo as well.

    But, in all honesty, I use Google anyway (not that they’re “that” much better). I really have no use for Yahoo. When I search, I’m looking for something. I don’t want to be burdened by all kinds of crap on the search homepage. Google’s simple, clutter-free homepage is just what I need.

    Before you guys think this is a great idea, you’d better ask yourself if you want Yahoo knowing your every single movement on the web… because that’s exactly what will happen.

    Boo to Yahoo!

  • Guest

    This is a great idea. Anything that will speed up my work is a plus in my book. The people complaining about it, “it’s just another invasion of privacy” and so forth, are just being paranoid. I guess they didn’t read that you have the option of turning this feature off if you want to. Some people just aren’t happy unless they have something to complain about. I say … aahhhh technology, ya gotta love it!

    No need to search for wholesale products, I have the link you need right here http://www.hackswholesale.com/Marketing/DD_index.asp

    You can get access to over 500,000 dropship products. You sell it, they’ll ship it.

    You can even get your own dropship website for the lowest price anywhere. Get one just like this one! http://www.HacksWholesale.com
    It makes me money every day.

  • B

    Funny thing, I should open this email just after seeing a page on yahoo that displayed a banner ad from overstock.com with exactly the things I searched and viewed yesterday on overstock. Not available to the public yet? Maybe not the version that I can keep track of the stuff I searched. But what a useful tool for targeting advertising, which is the real reason that Yahoo is coming out with this. Blow smoke up somebody else’s arse please, and don’t insult my intelligence. I don’t want you tracking my searches and then waving them in my face the next time I go online, so I will make a point of A)not using yahoo search; and b)turning the feature off if I find myself in a yahoo window for some reason unexplained by A).
    No, I’m not paranoid, and I do feel I have the right to use communications devices without being monitored; i.e. the internet and my computer.

    • Greg Vincent

      I agree. I don’t want everything I’m doing to be monitored – particularly if it’s without my permission. As someone else said, it is about advertising. If I stumble upon a website of interest, I will note the URL myself. I don’t need YAHOO to do it for me.

      I suppose it is sometimes useful to know how many ‘hits’ various websites have; but I don’t think the search habits of individuals on the internet should be recorded … this is an invasion of privacy.

  • Someguy

    Great, another way for Yahoo to track what you’re doing, where you’ve been and how long you were there. How is this even legal??? Yahoo claims this is in the interests of the user, give me a break. The primary reason for this new technology is A-D-V-E-R-T-I-S-I-N-G profits.

    • Guest

      Right on! This new feature is absurd and a clear invasion of privacy. I’m surprised that you were the only one intelligent enough to realize that — everyone else appears dumb as a mackerel about the possible abuses of this “new feature.”

      It’s no business of Yahoo or anyone else where someone searches..duhhh…Anthony Serafini in his book THE EPIC HISTORY OF BIOLOGY warned us about just such upcoming invasions of privacy. I strongly recommend everyone read it.

  • dogcollars

    It sounds like another thing to clutter your browser with. It feels like a “favorite” or “bookmark” Aren’t there enough of those going around. Please stay off of my computer!!

  • http://www.usadebtcare.com/ Recession Debt Consolidators

    Good for users, but while we searching online there is lot of Crapped & po** sites who use keywords for traffic and those sites have ZERO value as they didn’t server any to user.

    So if yahoo search pad includes these site too than GOD save us from mess.

    Search Pad should be more wise.

    Thanks

  • http://www.firmalatter.dk Ejvind

    It’s wonderful to see that sometimes competition is not about the same, but about making life easier for people. Thanks to yahoo we will now have a little more diversified way of searching.

  • http://www.lexolutionit.com Maneet Puri

    Ahem ahem.. Look who’s keeping pace with Google. I’m happy Yahoo is experimentaing and coming up with new features to please its audiences.

    Let’s see how well the search pad works!

  • http://allancarterphotography.com Basingstoke wedding photographer

    It may sound like a neat feature, and I too would love to know how folks search for things, but I don’t think this feature is going to make me any wiser. It will only tell me and Yahoo what my search preferences are. What other folks search for will still be a mystery to me.

  • http://www.dentalhealthsite.com AliMustafa

    I dont think this is cool at all, but will be checking it out in the new few months when it do comes out

  • http://www.angelscandystore.com mobe_45

    Don’t like it at all. When it comes (and it will) I’ll use the disable permanently feature.

  • http://www.technothrone.com ???????

    thank you

    • http://www.myspace.com/jayemichelle Guest

      This search history-who is it available to and visible to? Does Yahoo offer protection on this valuable data?

  • http://www.thelostagency.com david

    so they have given us more data to sort and keep, why not just download everything we ever looked at just in case…

    too much data… they can keep it!

  • http://www.NotYourMothers.com Ann Devletian

    Well, this is the sort of thing (invasiveness) that made me stick to using Yahoo as my steady search engine instead of Google. I can figure out my own search. I am the only one I want telling me what I want. I do research on multiple client’s websites. ‘No preconceived criteria’ should be the default. I guess now I’ll have to go looking for another decent search engine.

  • http://www.itchimes.com Website Development Company

    thank you for sharing this informative Article.

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