Even though Google gets more than three times the amount of traffic, Yahoo Search continues to add some pretty innovative features that its main competitor doesn’t have. In the past year and a half, Yahoo introduced Search Assist, thumbnail images and preview panes for Image Search. Yahoo even had the ability to search for Creative Commons licensed images before Google. Now, Yahoo Image Search is rolling out a travel image refiner in its search, which is definitely worth a look.
When you type in a city in image search, Yahoo will suggest related points of interest to your search, giving you more contextual information about your destination. For example, if you type in an image search for San Francisco, you will see a box to the left side of the page that will include image results for various points of interest and popular destinations within San Francisco, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz or Fisherman’s Wharf.
If you click on one of the points of interest, you will see an overlay of the images so you can take a virtual tour of the Golden Gate Bridge without having to leave the search results for San Francisco. Yahoo says that by providing these suggestions, tapping into what the company calls a “Web of Objects,” you will be able to take a virtual tour of a city without having to input many different sites or places. Basically, Yahoo Image does all the work for you.
This is no doubt a useful feature, especially considering that researching travel spots is now conducted primarily online by consumers. Having this sort of feature only enhances the travel planning process on the web. Yahoo says the Image Search Refiner is currently available for location-specific searches, but is planning to expand this functionality to other types of image searches in the future.
Of course, while Yahoo is adding these nifty features to its search capabilities, it’s facing challenges from Microsoft, with Bing nibbling at Yahoo’s search share. But a little competition never hurts, and perhaps even livens up the fight between the two underdogs.