In preparation for the start of the summer Olympics on August 8, Yahoo has added Olympic-themed Shortcuts to its search results. Yahoo Shortcuts serve up contextually relevant content from various Yahoo properties inline within the search results. Now, whenever somebody searches for Olympic results, news, or athletes, different Shortcut widgets will pop up.
Searching for an athlete’s name, like swimmer “Michael Phelps,” will bring up a picture, news stories about him from Yahoo News, and stats as well.
With Shortcuts like these, Yahoo is blurring the line between search results and content by offering up key pieces of data right on the main search page. And if you click off for a deeper dive, you end up going to other Yahoo properties. Exposing Yahoo content within search results is designed to help drive more traffic back to Yahoo—which is all right, as long as it’s useful. Sometimes Yahoo’s Shortcuts can serve up inappropriate results as well (but it is probably being extra careful with these to avoid any embarrassment).
Update: Google is doing the same thing with OneBox results for Olympic-related searches.
Update 2: The Michael Phelps Shortcut image above is what you currently get if you search for his name. Once the Olympics start, athlete names will turn up a shortcut that looks like this: