Ever since Google launched its instantaneous search product last fall, I've noticed something - everywhere I go on the Web, I enter search terms and and pause for a second, only to remember that not everything has yet gone instant.
While Google may still dominate the search engine market, Yahoo still runs neck in neck with Bing, constantly vying for the number two spot. With Google bringing instant results both to its search engine and Chrome, its browser, offering a real-time, keystroke-by-keystroke response to search requests was the obvious and next step for both Yahoo and Microsoft. It looks like Yahoo got there first.
So how does Yahoo's offering differ from Google? According to the company, with Search Direct "Yahoo! content is combined with information from the Web to provide rich answers, not just links, and to give people the option to immediately engage or continue to a traditional search results page."
As you can see with the above screenshot, Yahoo isn't about to offer its users a link to The Weather Channel when they search for "weather". Instead, the search engine will provide just that. The same goes for a variety of other categories. The initial release of Search Direct is currently in beta and available only within the U.S., but offers immediate "answers, not links" for topics including top trending searches, movies, TV, sports teams and players, weather, local, travel, stocks, and shopping categories.
While it's yet unclear whether or not the move will do anything to increase Yahoo's share of the search engine market, it should do one thing - ensure that it doesn't bleed out users as they begin to become accustomed to real-time results in other places on the Web.
Microsoft, it looks to be your turn. I, for one, don't have much patience for that "enter" key any more.