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Yahoo! Search Direct offers real-time ‘as you type’ search updates

yahoo-thumbAh, Google Instant. Search updates in real time as you type! Now Yahoo! users in the United States have access to the same sort of functionality thanks to the search engine’s newly introduced Search Direct feature.

The company issued a press release announcing the launch of the new feature, which seeks to speed up the process of finding content on the web by offering possible search terms link returns that update in real time as your fingers type out what you’re looking for. While Google‘s similar offering simply updates a full page of search results, Search Direct instead populates a pop-up box with 10 suggested search terms and 3 suggested links. The feature rolls out in its beta form for U.S. users today, though Yahoo! notes in the press release that the intention is to have it available “in other Yahoo! products and markets” before the end of this year.

There seems to be a little bit of a quirk with how Search Direct works, however. The results it spits back at you tend to be a little heavy on the Yahoo! content. Any search containing a word that has ties to one of the company’s services will breed results that promote the Yahoo! content ahead of everything else. As Engadget rather hilariously notes, there are only five letters in an alphabet you can begin a search with that won’t immediately return a Yahoo!-specific result:

I = iTunes
J = Jennifer Lopez
X = Xbox 360
Z = Zsa Zsa Gabor

Don’t judge too harshly; remember, this is still the beta phase of Search Direct’s rollout. The feature will presumably be tweaked moving forward to offer more useful search returns, since that is the reason for its existence to begin with. The Yahoo! press release lays out Search Direct’s various features in friendly bullet-points, which you can take a look at below. Alternatively, you can just go ahead and try the service out for yourself (assuming you’re in the U.S.) at

Trending Searches – The moment the cursor hits the search box, top search trends appear and are updated every 10 minutes to display the latest and greatest search trends.

Search Previews – Search Direct predicts the search term as you type, providing the 10 most likely searches. You can then easily scan each option to see the related top results and find the best match for your needs.

Direct Answers – For many common searches, Search Direct provides instant answers before you click the Search button. Find an address or phone number, a three-day weather forecast, financial stock performance, the top trending stories at Yahoo! News, or when and where a movie is playing – all without going to a results page.

Direct Results – When you scan the search options and find the site you need, Search Direct provides exactly that – direct access to the site. No more overwhelming pages of links.

Rich Content – For all top searches about sports, top news stories, and finance, Search Direct displays rich content that only the world’s largest digital media company can provide. For example, type “n” to get the Yahoo! News display, which always shows the top two trending stories.

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