Yahoo updates Search Assist

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Yahoo assists customer searches

Yahoo has unveiled a raft of updates for its customer-facing keyword help tool.

This week, the internet giant announced that searches relating to areas such as finance, sport and breaking news will be affected by its redesign of Search Assist. It means browsers can expect more intuitive options and suggested keywords as they type.

For example, users who type in stock market symbols for major companies will be invited to access real-time stock charts and quotes from Yahoo Finance. Customers who request information on top athletes will be recommended terms about their recent scores and forthcoming schedules from Yahoo Sports. And searches for terms such as 'news' and major public figures like Obama will be offered links to Yahoo News.

Yahoo Search Assist explained

Yahoo Search Assist was rolled out back in October 2007. Browsers who enter keywords are provided with a list of relevant alternatives just below the search box, which are based upon the most popular terms for all Yahoo browsers.

Yahoo Search senior product manager Linda Wang and Yahoo Network Services director of product management Drew Geishecker said: "The number of queries from Search Assist has increased three-fold since the product's kickoff. With today's improvements, we hope to give you an ever faster and more relevant experience."

These changes are part of the company's efforts to claw back users from Google, which dominates the search engine market. However, the latest industry figures make sorry reading for Yahoo. According to internet data specialist comScore, Yahoo accounted for 18 per cent of US searches in October 2009, down from 18.8 per cent a month earlier. Google continues to lead the field with a 65.4 per cent market share.