Yahoo Search has downgraded its service. Oddly, for a tech company, it has, instead of forever advancing its offering, to entice new customers, and keep old ones, decided to reduce its standard search offering, to all.
Until a few days ago, Yahoo Search offered a very useful service, to anyone who used its search box: any search term would evoke an offering to "explore related concepts". This was, I thought, a marvellous tool. Entering anyone's name, for instance, would instantly suggest to you, other matters that this person is somehow related to, through being mentioned in those contexts on the internet. It was very useful for getting an overall picture of anyone or anything. Now, however, Yahoo Search has decided that there are two types of people: the famous ones, and the "little people" who must be sidelined and ignored, like the uninteresting, pointless people they are - or at least Yahoo Search thinks they are.
You are free to check your name, in Yahoo Search, if you wish. However, unless you are a globally famous person, you will, at most, just receive the list on the left hand side of common searches related to you. There will be no suggestion, any longer, of "related concepts" to explore.
I find this a puzzling decision by Yahoo Search. You see, the internet is eminently suited to compiling interesting information on everything - and that means even relatively obscure matters - and not just the "blockbuster" topics. In redefining what its computers will now look for related concepts, to, Yahoo Search, is making it clear that it considers anyone or anything less than a "blockbuster" topic, as unimportant, and inconsequential. This is a key strategic error and shows that Yahoo Search fails to understand the realities of the modern world. You see the number of non-blockbuster topics and not so famous people is SO inordinately greater than the blockbuster topics and the globally famous people, that the total interest and search volume in the more "minor" topics will, in aggregate, be much greater than that of the blockbuster topics. Thus, Yahoo Search is closing access to its searchers, to the information that many of them actually want. It is making the mistake of thinking in an old paradigm.
Perhaps it is costly to devote the necessary computer resources to defining related concepts for everything...but I think that the true cost is neglibible compared to the additional traffic I am fairly sure this service has been drawing to Yahoo Search. Yahoo must weigh against that computing cost, the loss of regular searchers that will develop as people come to realize that they have downgraded their service.
So, Yahoo, if you ever read this blog: why not put back your "explore related concepts" search service, for ALL searches, and not just very famous people. Frankly, very famous people are not as interesting, anyway, as somewhat less famous people, for the simple reason that information is more accessible for the most famous anyway. It is the somewhat less famous, but interesting, people, that we need search engines to find out more about for us. So, too, for the more obscure topics in life and learning.
Then again, there is another angle. Yahoo Search has unwittingly insulted the hundreds of millions of surfers, whose names used to summon related concepts, but who now do not. Yahoo Search has made it clear that it considers these hundreds of millions of people, unimportant - and beneath acknowledgement. Perhaps, in response, some of these people - which may number in millions - may decide that other search engines, serve their needs better and show more respect, by being less divisive and exclusive.
So, come on, Yahoo Search: be fair to all people and concepts, not just the famous. The best search service would be the one that offered the most "related concepts" type responses...because that makes search easiest. You used to offer such a service...so why not offer it again? I think you will find that people actually liked the service - and valued it.
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Labels: common people, discrimination, divisive, downgrading service, famous people, how to shrink a business, Yahoo Search