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Yahoo! Testing Instant Search Result Functionality  

Yahoo unveiled a beta version of a search tool that pops up results before a user is finished typing.

The company is beta testing this feature on a new sub domain and provides the option for users to add it on their main search website. This feature displays a ‘search bubble’ while the person is typing a keyword or phrase. Users can then directly visit that search result without going to the search result page resulting in faster access to the information.

For example, typing in bos pops up a link to current conditions at Boston's Logan Airport which has a BOS code. Boston pops up a link to Boston.com, while Boston weather produces a forecast in a bubble. If the bubble's contents contain the right result, a user does not need to hit the ‘Search the Web’ button or the Enter key, or scroll through pages of results to find the right one on which to click.

Providing users with relevant search results quickly remains a problem for search engines, which still deliver long lists of web pages that possibly contain the information sought. On its search blog,, Yahoo acknowledges the problem, saying that words often have multiple meanings, making it difficult to guess the intent of the searcher.

Instant Search is now available at http://instant.search.yahoo.com. While a word is being typed into its search box, it checks if a single, relevant answer is available. Common results are displayed just below the search box, in the form of a speech bubble.

Users can still perform regular search on these keywords if they want to ignore the suggestion of the search bubble. The feature works well on all the three popular browsers for PC online, which are Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera. This is a good thing considering most new web features are mostly developed for the Internet Explorer.

The new offering uses AJAX Web technology, which reduces the need for Web clients to reconnect to a Web server every time information is downloaded. Yahoo's Instant Search tool is under development, so more features are likely to be added in the near future, Yahoo said.

The competition among search companies such as Google, MSN and Yahoo is heating up, and all of them are engaged in adding new features and tools to their offerings.

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