Blog Posts by SearchMonkey

  • New SearchMonkey Enhanced Result Template Deployed

    In July, we bucket tested a new template design for Enhanced Result applications. Developers do not have to take any actions to use this new redesign; all Enhanced Result applications will upgrade automatically. Important: Infobar applications will be unaffected.

    The original SearchMonkey post contains examples of both the old and the new SearchMonkey Enhanced Result templates. In this posting, we'll just show examples of the new design. First, an Enhanced Result for that displays a result with a full abstract:

    New SearchMonkey Enhanced Result (Abstract)

    The first design change you'll notice is that images appear to the right, rather than the left. Our user testing has shown that moving images to the right improves the usability of the overall result. As for links, they now appear in a horizontal row, rather than as a vertical column next to the image. Not only are the deep links are more discoverable when presented separately from the image, but moving the links into a horizontal row provides more space for

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  • SearchMonkey Rides with the Semantic Web Gang

    For those of you who are interested in learning more about how structured data fits in with SearchMonkey and Yahoo! Search strategy, please tune in to the latest Semantic Web Gag podcast to hear our very own Peter Mika discussing topics such as:

    • how SearchMonkey is helping to motivate large site owners to use semantic data
    • the importance of shared vocabularies for application interoperability
    • the emergence of automated tools for extracting semantic data, such as Calais

    This podcast is available as a stream or MP3 download. Enjoy!

    Evan Goer

    Yahoo! SearchMonkey Team

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  • SearchMonkey Tutorials

    If you've been waiting 'till now to build a SearchMonkey application, you're in luck — we're pleased to announce that two intrepid SearchMonkey developers have independently created some great tutorials to help you get started.

    First, Mark Birbeck of webBackplane has released a set of SearchMonkey tutorials that cover the DataRSS format, creating a DataRSS XSLT extractor, and creating a presentation application. Mark's specific focus is on government websites and expanding the ways these websites can share information with citizens. In fact, one of the reasons Mark is so interested in SearchMonkey is that SearchMonkey apps enable people to see what's possible when you embed RDFa in your pages. Mark also points out that custom data services are an excellent way to prototype these kinds of features before you go to the trouble of changing your markup.

    If that weren't enough, Chris Lindsey of the Yahoo! Search Editorial team has posted a two-part SearchMonkey tutorial series on How to

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  • SearchMonkey for Site Search

    This is a cross-posting from the Yahoo! Search Blog.

    In the past few months, SearchMonkey developers have told us they'd like to use Enhanced Results for site search. Yahoo! and other search engines have long had a site restrict operator (e.g. and other site search tools, but we decided to launch a new capability that lets you add a query parameter that automatically turns on the SearchMonkey Enhanced Result for the site you're searching. This is important for site owners because it makes it easier for their communities to get more complete answers when they search on Yahoo! Search.

    This new parameter will work with any app that's in the Yahoo! Search Gallery as well as any official app. (To make an app official, a site owner just needs to authenticate their site using Site Explorer and then associate their app with their site when they make it sharable in the Developer Tool)

    How it works
    To use this functionality, you just need to append a few parameters to a typical

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  • Yelp, Yahoo! Local and LinkedIn SearchMonkey Apps Now Default-On

    This is a cross-posting from the Yahoo! Search Blog.

    Last month we opened up the Yahoo! Search Gallery to showcase all of the useful SearchMonkey applications that have been built by developers, site owners and Yahoo!. Today, we’re turning on a few of those applications for all users. Now, the Yelp, Yahoo! Local and LinkedIn Enhanced Results will automatically appear in the search results, eliminating the need for users to go into the Search Gallery to add them.

    Why did we start with these applications? Before making an application “default on” we require a few things: access to the site’s structured data through semantic markup or a data feed, a well-designed and broadly useful application, and positive user metrics. To understand how a SearchMonkey app affects user metrics, we generally expose a small percentage of our users to a default-on experience and measure if and how it changes their usage. We started with Yelp, LinkedIn, and Yahoo! Local because they were among our first

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  • New SearchMonkey Enhanced Result Template

    We are testing a new template design for Enhanced Result applications. This new template contains two key design improvements that stem directly from recent Yahoo! user research. If our tests are successful (we're exposing 5% of our traffic to this new template), we'll roll it out to all users in the coming months. Developers do not have to perform any actions to take advantage of this new redesign; all Enhanced Result applications will upgrade automatically. Infobar applications will be unaffected.

    Original Enhanced Result Designs (Abstract, Key/Value Pair)

    Original SearchMonkey Enhanced Result (Abstract)

    Original SearchMonkey Enhanced Result (Key/Value Pair)

    New Enhanced Result Designs (Abstract, Key/Value Pair)

    New SearchMonkey Enhanced Result (Abstract)

    New SearchMonkey Enhanced Result (Key/Value Pair)

    Key differences include:

    • Images appear to the right of the abstract, rather than the left. Our latest eye-tracking studies indicate that moving the image helps users selectively discover it — without disrupting their ability to scan the search result page. While we know that users do like relevant images, we also know that images can increase the risk that the result

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  • Twitter, SearchMonkey, and Caching

    Intrepid coder Bart Teeuwisse has written up an excellent technical account of creating "Tweet", a beautifully designed SearchMonkey app for Twitter. From a performance standpoint, writing a Twitter SearchMonkey app is particularly challenging, as Bart explains:

    It turns out that execution speed of a SearchMonkey is key. To make the SearchMonkey Gallery a presentation monkey such as Tweet has to complete within a fraction of a second. Any call to fetch 3rd party takes too long to satisfy this requirement. Certainly calling Twitter's API whose fluctuating response times are all over the map.

    Secondly, Twitter's profile API call takes a user ID, which first has to be extracted from Yahoo!'s indexed data. An additional data SearchMonkey can do that and whose output is the input to Tweet's profile feching data monkey. However, this chaining of data monkeys makes Tweet only slower.

    Fortunately, Bart hit on a really clever solution: a mashup with Google App Engine, which acts as a simple

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  • Changes to SearchMonkey’s DataRSS format

    In our continued effort to search for the right balance between simplicity and expressiveness, we are revising some aspects of the DataRSS format used by SearchMonkey applications. As a first step, we have made it possible to provide a space-separated list of compact URIs as part of the rel and property attributes instead of providing a single value. This is to support situations where there are multiple properties (possibly from different vocabularies) expressing the proper relationship or there are multiple relationships to begin with. For example, mixing the FOAF and VCard vocabularies you may write

      Peter Mika
           Amit Kumar

    By providing support for a space-separated lists of compact URIs (CURIEs), we are bringing dataRSS closer to RDFa, which also allows multiple values for the property and rel

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  • SearchMonkey Screencast #1 – Trigger Data

    Here is a screencast showing how to make a "data triggered" plugin. It won't show the normal "Load Error" or "Enhancement Failed" for results that don't have the data. Remember, this technique only works on prexisting data, and not data services, so go mark-up your pages! :)

    On Yahoo Video:

    Gallery (so you can use it, and clone it) : Y!Directory in Gallery

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  • New SearchMonkey Gallery Requirements

    Recently we added two new requirements for gallery apps. If you have apps in the gallery (or are submitting new ones), please check that the apps meet these guidelines:

    • When using a custom data service, please make sure that you are submitting an Infobar app. A Results app using custom data services is not allowed in the gallery.
    • When we render an Infobar app that doesn't return any extra data for a URL that it was triggered for, we show a 'No data' message. This is not the best user experience - so it would be good idea to default to a generic display, instead of not showing anything at all.
    • With a Result app, however, it's the opposite - you shouldn't present a generic display if you don't have anything interesting to add to the existing search result - in this case return an empty array in your getOutput() method, so we default to the simple search result.

    And for other requirements please refer to our previous blog post here.

    Lawrence Kim
    Yahoo! Search

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