Getting answers instead of links

OneSearch reinvented mobile search and I was awarded 4 patents for how we did it.

Yahoo!, 2007

 
Reinventing mobile search by starting with what we know   By comparing a user's query to Yahoo! editorially updated lists of movies and sports teams and restaurants and others, we return clusters of content in addition to web links.


Reinventing mobile search by starting with what we know
By comparing a user's query to Yahoo! editorially updated lists of movies and sports teams and restaurants and others, we return clusters of content in addition to web links.

Searching for ‘Casino Royale’  In this example, we knew that "Casino Royale" is a movie currently playing. Therefore we show you the movie rating and show time and with 1 click you'd see a description and cast.


Searching for ‘Casino Royale’
In this example, we knew that "Casino Royale" is a movie currently playing. Therefore we show you the movie rating and show time and with 1 click you'd see a description and cast.

Searching for ‘49ers’   In this example, we know that '49ers' are a sports team that just played. So we show you the most recent scores and the next game. Here 1 click gets you the game's box scores.


Searching for ‘49ers’
In this example, we know that '49ers' are a sports team that just played. So we show you the most recent scores and the next game. Here 1 click gets you the game's box scores.

In 2007 mobile search was broken due to spotty connectivity and narrow bandwidth: a single page-render could take as long as 45 seconds! So, when it came to mobile search results, a list of web site links that might have an answer was not the optimal way to help the customer. Looking at usage patterns, we found that people would try just one or two links but then give up without finding the answer to their query.

Yahoo! is all about content maintained by teams of editors. The idea of oneSearch was deceptively simple: compare the user’s query to the list of things that Yahoo’s editors knew. And if there was a match, show what we knew in addition to the web links. For example, if the user would search for a popular movie title. The oneSearch back-end would match that title to currently showing movies and gives the user local showtimes, the movie rating and a direct link to the trailer.