Yahoo! today announced Search Direct, which delivers answers and direct access to websites before users complete a query, hit the search button, or go to a search results page.
This new feature, currently in beta, predicts search results as fast as a person types, character by character, and presents those results dynamically. Search Direct rolls out in a public beta to Yahoo! users across the U.S. today, and will be available in other Yahoo! products and markets later this year, Yahoo said.
"Search Direct is evidence of Yahoo! continuing to lead innovation in search, enabling people to take action faster, find what is most important, and sample what is possible with the next stage of search technology," said Shashi Seth, senior vice president, Yahoo! Search and Marketplaces.
With Search Direct, Yahoo! content is combined with information from the Web to provide rich answers, not just links, and to give people the option to immediately engage or continue to a traditional search results page. In this beta release, coverage includes top trending searches, movies, TV, sports teams and players, weather, local, travel, stocks, and shopping categories now available at search.yahoo.com.
Yahoo said that at the moment the cursor hits the search box, top search trends appear and are updated every 10 minutes to display the latest search trends.
Search Direct also predicts the search term as it is typed, providing the 10 most likely searches. Users can then scan each option to see the related top results and find the best match for their needs.
For many common searches, Search Direct provides instant answers before the the Search button is clicked.
Lastly, for all top searches about sports, top news stories, and finance, Search Direct displays rich Yahoo content. For example, type "n" to get the Yahoo! News display, which always shows the top two trending stories.
Rival search engine Google also launched last year Google Instant, which predicts a search term after only a few words are typed, and immediately serves up relevant results.
Yahoo is also talking to advertisers about new kinds of graphically rich ad formats and video ads that could appear inside the Search Direct box.