Yahoo started rolling out several major changes to its search engine last night with the goal of helping people more quickly find and interact with all the information they need in a single place.
Using the search engine's new "intelligent shortcuts," you can search for popular movies, celebrities, and other topical items, and Yahoo will deliver the latest articles, photos, videos, event listings, and Twitter tweets on your chosen topic. If Yahoo knows your location, it can also display the closest listings for movies and concerts. The various search results are organized by type all in one spot at the top of the page, letting you easily tab back and forth between photos, videos, tweets, and other areas.
A search for Lady Gaga, for example, conjures up a list of nearby concert appearances, the tracks of her last few albums, and tweets from the lady herself. The search results are also interactive, so you can play sample songs, view videos, and even buy tickets to the next Lady Gaga concert through a Yahoo partner.
If you're a Netflix subscriber, searching on Yahoo for your favorite movies and TV shows can now access your Netflix account. Clicking on the Netflix QuickApp button next to a movie or TV episode in Yahoo's search results lets you add that item to your DVD queue or watch it on the spot through Netflix's instant queue.
Yahoo has also added more visuals to its search results. Photo slideshows will now appear on Yahoo's main search and Image Search pages for certain topics from its Trending Now list. Image Search can also now grab photos from your own Facebook albums and those of your friends--with your permission, of course. For example, I typed "wedding" in Yahoo Image Search, and it showed me photos from some of my friends' Facebook wedding albums.
And finally for mobile users, searching at Yahoo's mobile site on your iPhone or Android device taps into some of the new features. You'll find news, photos, tweets, and other results on your favorite topics and also get directions to nearby businesses, all on one single mobile page.
Yahoo's goal behind the updated search is to offer people a more immersive and interactive way of finding things.
"We're creating a search experience that, instead of merely presenting you with a simple list of results, lets you discover important, relevant information and get things done right after you search," Shashi Seth, Yahoo's senior vice president for Search and Marketplaces, wrote in a blog post.
The new features have already started reaching people in the U.S., according to Yahoo, while those in other countries can expect to see them next year.
Yahoo's video below offers a tour of its new search features.