Please note: This site's design is only visible in a graphical browser that supports Web standards, but its content is accessible to any browser or Internet device. To see this site as it was designed please upgrade to a Web standards compliant browser.
Signal vs. Noise

Our book:
Defensive Design for the Web: How To Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points
Available Now ($16.99)

Most Popular (last 15 days)
Looking for old posts?
37signals Mailing List

Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive updates on 37signals' latest projects, research, announcements, and more (about one email per month).

37signals Services
XML version (full posts)
Get Firefox!

New Yahoo vs. Old Google

07 Apr 2003 by

Yahoo, in a bid to take on Google, launched their new search today. It’s very Google-like (fast, cached results, minimal interface, etc.). After giving it a few tries, will you switch? Is it compelling enough? Is it really faster, more convenient, better? What do you think? (BTW, we were asked to bid on this Yahoo search-redesign project but we didn’t win it)

27 comments so far (Post a Comment)

07 Apr 2003 | Don Schenck said...

Well, my first test didn't go that great. I typed in "" and the address was the third item listed -- out of three.

Google recognized it as a URL and let me go there.

Not a great test (n=1), but nonetheless not encouraging.

I'll try it ... but Google has captured the hearts and minds of Americans to the point where it has become a verb.

07 Apr 2003 | Ben said...

I don't think I'll ever use it as an autonomous search engine, mainly because a) it's a longer URL, and b) isn't installed into my browser toolbars. Oh, and then there's the part about it not being a good search engine... why can't I jump to later sets of results? Why are they making me page forwards and backwards through 20 results at a time? Dumb.

07 Apr 2003 | fajalar said...

It's okay. It doesn't seem as fast as Google, but I didn't clock it. I did a search on my name and it came up with the same hits (in the same order) as Google.

I don't like the paging of results either, but they model their preferences page right off of Google, so it was easy to set the number of results to 100.

I do like the option of opening the link in the bowser, or in a new browser. And the fact that the results are numbered, but that's not a big benefit.

Lastly, when I need to find something, my habit is already built to type Google. But kudos to Yahoo! for trying to simplify the UI for those who frequent the site.

07 Apr 2003 | SU said...

I feel like they haven't pushed the envelope at all with this launch it doesn't offer new features compared to the competition and it doesn't even try to use XHTML/CSS for layout. But it is definitely simplified for longtime Yahoo! Search users and that may be enough.

07 Apr 2003 | Joshua Kaufman said...

a) it's a longer URL

When it becomes their main search, it will be a shorter URL.

b) isn't installed into my browser toolbars.

From the tour, it looks like the new Yahoo toolbar uses the new search. Can anyone confirm this?

Oh, and then there's the part about it not being a good search engine...

They use Google. Read the teeny tiny print at the bottom of the search results.

It's okay, but better than I expected. My thoughts:

  • They should have used all CSS
  • Google comes across much cleaner and less cluttered
  • It's not fast enough (not as fast as Google)
  • When both "Inside Yahoo" and "Sponsor Results" are shown, the search results don't start until halfway down the page! And I'm on a 21" monitor at 1152 x 864! What happened to designing above the fold?
  • Numbering the results makes them more difficult to browse for me. You?
  • Nice advanced search features
  • Nice search shortcuts. I prefer shortcuts to Google's guessing what I'm asking for. You?

07 Apr 2003 | Joshua Kaufman said...

Oh, I should point out that most all of those comments above were directed at their search results pages. Their main search page is quite nice.

07 Apr 2003 | David (OnFire4jc) said...

Not a fan. When typing in my own website link, it doesn't even come up with the front page (which Google does). And why do they list "Also Search In" at the bottom of the page when those searches are just as relevant as the ones listed on the sidebar?

Also, it seems a little odd that they don't even link to Google when giving them credit (considering their "powered by" link to HP).

Besides, until Google does something insanely foolish like, well, Yahoo! did in the late 90s, I'm a loyal user. The Y! hasn't yet regained any respect from me as a designer or consumer.

07 Apr 2003 | pb said...

If you hit a search term where they've sold a lot of inventory, it's really, really bad. Example:

In some cases, you won't get real search results anywhere near "above the fold".

I hope they will contiunue to put real dedicated energy behind their search efforts. It will be interesting to see if Inktomi is up to the challenge. Yahoo generates around 30% of Google's volume which I suspect will dry up overnite. Overture/ATW/AV may be able to mount the challenge as well. And Microsoft and AOL have yet to make moves in this area.

Has Google peaked?

07 Apr 2003 | she searches said...

try these searches
94306 pizza

701 First Avenue Sunnyvale, California 94089

boston weather


news iraq

What will lie in the future?

07 Apr 2003 | hurley#1 said...

The one thing I don't like about Google (and hence the new Yahoo search, since it uses Google) is that it doesn't indicate when the sites in my search results were last updated. AltaVista used to do that, and I really liked that feature -- it helped me avoid sites that were seriously out of date. Maybe Google does that weeding automatically based on its search criteria, but I do sometimes find it coming up with pages that haven't been updated in months or years.

07 Apr 2003 | Ben said...

Yes, I do believe that it will everntually be a shorter URL once it's live, but it will still be longer to type than most branded standalone engines ("", "", "" &c.) And while there may be a toolbar on the way, it won't matter to me... switching would mean removing my Google one to install the Yahoo one just to get differently-styled listings, basically.

To me, it's just really an attempt to catch new users before they discover Google... or basically waiting in the wings until Google does something bad, and people start looking for an alternative.

07 Apr 2003 | SU said...

try these searches
94306 pizza

Now, that is interesting... But it's not apparent that these options exist at first glance. I especially like the ability to narrow based on Zip Code, making things more relevant to me without having to struggle through pages and pages or results.

07 Apr 2003 | nathan said...

Will I switch from Google? Nope...but it is nice that maps and yellow pages are readily accessible from one URL (where's the yahoo mail link?).

There should be some "breaking news" in News instead of users having to search for something specific.

The big indicator of trouble in Yahoo-land is the Tour. Somehow biz people think that low rez site tours compensate for non intuitive design, or that tours serve some promotional purpose. In the Yahoo search tour, the only useful information is query shortcuts, and of course this useful info is buried 5 clicks deep. Much better to use a "tip of the day, see more tips" approach on the homepage.

God, site tours SO reek of "the boss wants a site tour, better tack one on".

07 Apr 2003 | pb said...

The tour is fine. In fact, it's quite useful. Would you consider yourself a decent proxy for the general surfing public? Probably not.

07 Apr 2003 | ~bc said...

Well first I "ego-surfed" and glad to see I'm still the #1 me (and several of the first 10), just as I am on Google. But other than that I didn't see any thing really earth shaking. Then I tried the "she searches." Again, the weather was nice, but nothing to write home about. However, the zip+pizza was very cool.

08 Apr 2003 | wr said...


The toolbar screenshot in the tour has Boxes and Arrows in the background - were any of the B&A folk responsible for this new Yahoo!?

08 Apr 2003 | lurker said...

Christina Wodtke is head of user experience at Yahoo

08 Apr 2003 | said...

(BTW, we were asked to bid on this Yahoo search-redesign project but we didn?t win it)

So. Mighty boastful.

08 Apr 2003 | Joshua Kaufman said...

I've put some more thoughts on the new Yahoo! search on my personal website for those interested.

08 Apr 2003 | hmmm said...

So. Mighty boastful.

i'm sure it was done in a "full disclosure" attempt cause it is such a clumsy way of dropping a name... keep in mind it doesn't look real good to tell anyone you weren't hired for a job. but i see your point.

08 Apr 2003 | B said...

hmmm said: "keep in mind it doesn't look real good to tell anyone you weren't hired for a job."

I think honesty always looks good. No one is hired for every job. There's no shame in admitting when you lose.

08 Apr 2003 | anonymouscow said...

Interesting... I would love to see a 37Signals story on 'site tours.' Are tours >really

08 Apr 2003 | Graeme Donald said...

I'd like to see 37BetterYahoo.

Since they didn't get the project, let's see what they would have done differently.

10 Apr 2003 | Wilson Miner said...

looks to me like it IS google?

try a search in both, you get identical results. it just sorts results from the same site a little differently.

and see the "Search Technology provided by Google" in the fine print at the bottom.

25 Apr 2003 | Foobed said...

Yahoo web matches have been powered by Google for a couple years now. They're almost singularly responsible for Google's ascension in the public mind. Doesn't anyone do any research before discrediting others?

20 Nov 2003 | car insurance company said...

it may be google-like...but it's not google

12 Jan 2004 | casino said...

Excellent site I have bookmarked your site and I will come back soon!

Comments on this post are closed

Back to Top ^