Past is Prologue For Chief Yahoo

NEW YORK — For Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, past is prologue as the portal/search company extends its platform to developers while looking back in order to improve personalized search.

“The relevance of search is sort of the Holy Grail for any search
application,” Yang said during a keynote address at Jupitermedia’s Search Engine Strategies conference here. “Applying personal context, past behavior is important as search moves into mobile devices.”

Yang also built on the company’s move into Web services with the launch of its Yahoo Search Developer Network. The launch allows developers to build tools that tie into Yahoo’s algorithmic search, furthering the company’s mission to be a “place people continue to trust and find information they need,” he said.

The new network will allow software developers to create applications with the help of application programming interfaces, or APIs . It will be integrated onto the top of Yahoo search and include images, video, news.

The Search Developer Network marks Yahoo’s first foray into Web services. Like its own search results, Yahoo’s Search Developer Network helps ensure that Yahoo’s own platforms are relevant as developers build third-party applications for Yahoo properties.

Yang also said Yahoo’s search advertising division, Overture Services, is being re-branded to be called Yahoo Search Marketing Solutions. The integration will bring its sponsored search offerings and Yahoo’s listings within the same group, Yang said.

In conjunction with Overture’s re-branding, Yahoo is also launching a new Advertising Solutions Center in the U.S., where businesses can plan and buy the company’s Search Marketing Solutions products. In addition, the company said the new center would offer marketers information about Yahoo’s customized, creative media solutions.

“The Internet has grown and become part of the mainstream media,” Yang said during a Q&A format with host Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch.

“We feel the more we [Yahoo] do to generally nurture, it expands the kinds of thing people can do,” he said, musing about Yahoo’s 10-year anniversary and its role in helping to popularize the Web with the masses.

Yang also spoke about the need to personalize information based on user behavior and creating more encompassing community elements to the search field. “Yahoo’s goal is to evolve with our users. In the next ten years we will continue to find what they need.”

Those next 10 years are sure to be a challenge. Yang promised Yahoo would continue to adapt, adding value added services and integrating personalization in a more cohesive way. “Now we are blending an experience that is seamless to the user.”

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