Yahoo Not Ceding Search Business to Bing

YahooAfter years of dancing around each other, Microsoft and Yahoo cut recently cut a 10-year deal that has Microsoft’s new Bing search engine acting as the power behind Yahoo’s search—but that apparently doesn’t mean Yahoo plans to surrender its identify in the search market and essentially let its search become a branded version of Bing. Instead, Yahoo says it plans to continue to innovate in the Internet search space, integrating its search more deeply with social networking sites and surfacing key items—like videos—and offering in-page tools from the likes of McAfee and Yelp so users can get more information and filter dangerous links without leaving the search page.

At a media event at the company headquarters, Yahoo VP Prabhakar Raghavan insisted Yahoo’s search is not be a mere version of Bing: while Microsoft and Yahoo are collaborating behind the scenes, they remain competitors for search traffic. Yahoo remains in control of the front-end of search results presented to users, and apparently feels it can outdo Bing’s creators at their own game.

While the Yahoo-Microsoft deal puts Bing behind queries—and Yahoo is adopting Microsoft’s advertising placement service AdCenter, and mothballing its own equivalent system, named Panama. However, Yahoo is also licensing some of its search technology to Microsoft.

Yahoo also revealed that when Bing send advertisements back to Yahoo users in response to queries, Yahoo will be making decisions about whether or not to display individual Bing-fed advertisements. Yahoo also plans to integrate social networking services into its home page to make Yahoo a premiere destination for finding people, regardless of what social networking services they use.

Yahoo also demonstrated more socially aware versions of its Yahoo Mail service, which using heuristics to help users find messages that are likely to be more important than others, based on things like frequency of correspondents and connections on social networks. Future versions of Yahoo Messenger will also tap into social networks; for instance, version 10 will pull in status messages from a variety of public-facing social networking services and enable users to quickly flip through them.

Yahoo is also expanding internationally, announcing today that it is acquiring Maktoob.com, a leading online community in countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, and the UAE. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.