Yahoo Working On New Secret Search Engine
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Yahoo via developers in Australia has been secretly working on a new search engine which it claims is lightning fast.

A development team at Yahoo!7 has come up with a new approach to online searching which allows users to set up their own customised search system.

Dubbed Yahoo! Alpha, the Ajax-based system gives users the ability to arrange a number of specialised search boxes to tailor a search site to suit their special interests. They can also add new speciality boxes linked to any Web site that uses RSS technology to syndicate its content.

The Aussie team has been working on Alpha for about a year and it’s getting enthusiastic response from beta users (yep – at Yahoo!7, Alpha is currently beta).

The site at this stage is aimed at Australian users, but the team – headed by former Hitwise operative Brett Poole – reckons it could easily be adapted for international use.

The Alpha site has a clean, uncluttered look that hides complex searching power. Beneath a conventional type-in search box is a menu of more specialised search choices: including images (mostly from Flickr), news, and research (for teachers, scientists and other dedicated researchers).

Typing in keywords brings up a 1-10 listing from Yahoo!7, along with separate panels containing findings from areas like Yahoo!7Answers,
Wikipedia, or Flickr. Flickr images are displayed as thumbnails – passing the cursor over one brings up a few words of explanation.

Results are lightning fast and – where appropriate – there’s a focus on Australian information. Layouts and settings can be customised and shared with friends or other researchers.

The beta version can be trialled by Yahoo! users at http://au.alpha.yahoo.com. – David Frith