April 27, 2005 7:09 AM PDT

Yahoo debuts personalized search

Yahoo introduced a personal search feature Wednesday, expanding its drive to offer made-to-order online services to consumers and answering the release of similar tools by rival Google.

The Internet giant said the beta, or test, version of My Web, available at the company's site, was built using technology that first debuted in October with its search history product.

The goal of the personalized tool is to let Yahoo users archive their search activity and results, and then share that information with other people if they choose to, the company said. The search capability will also find its way into Yahoo's browser toolbar.

Yahoo is touting the integration of the search tools with its e-mail, instant messaging and personal networking applications as a major benefit of the technology.

"My Web is the next step in our vision of integrating search, personal search and community by providing users an easy way to have their own personal Web search experience that incorporates the best of the Web and what matters most to them," Qi Lu, vice president of engineering for Yahoo Search, said in a statement.

The launch of My Web comes less than a week after Google introduced its own personalized search, known as My Search History. Yahoo was known to be developing personal search tools for some time, but the Google release may have accelerated the entire market for such services, as earlier reported.

Yahoo asserts that My Web creates a "persistent search memory" that lets people save, annotate and share any and all Web pages they find or visit. Using an updated version of the Yahoo toolbar, people will also be able to add any Web page to their personal search archive with the click of a button. Google's personal search feature has yet to reach its browser toolbar.

My Web's features also include tools that let people automatically save their searches, archive exact copies of Web pages as they appear at a certain time, and import bookmarks from Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. In addition, My Web gives surfers the opportunity to add notes to saved pages, create Web sites detailing favorite saved pages, and publish shared pages via RSS feeds.

In an overture to software developers, Yahoo has also opened up APIs (application programming interfaces) so that outside engineers can create new tools for My Web.


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