Looks like Yahoo! has taken a page from Google’s SearchMash experiment. I’ve been using SearchMash as my default homepage in firefox for a while now – because I can get an aggregated view of search results on a single page instead of having to navigate to different pages for different types of content.
Yahoo! ‘s new offering called “alpha” ( which is currently in beta 😉 ) neatly organises results from the Web, Flickr, YouTube, Wikipedia and Yahoo Answers, as well as other sponsored results. In fact at first glance it looks, well, almost identical to SearchMash actually. Yahoo! have stuck with a traditional paging control to page through search results, whereas SearchMash does away with the paging metaphor and instead gets more results which are added to the bottom of the page.
Yahoo! alpha integration with both YouTube and Flickr is very nice. Even though the layout of the two search engines is almost identical, I think Yahoo! makes better use of the screen, content doesn’t feel as cluttered as SearchMash can at times.
I like Yahoo! alpha. I love the fact that I can customise the layout and move the portlets around to my own liking … and I can share my layout with others. There’s no doubt in my mind that Yahoo! have taken a great idea that Google was experimenting with, and have improved upon it.
It will be interesting to see how Google respond to this? I’d hope it would be by releasing a long overdue update to SearchMash, to show all of us who have been providing feedback if and how they have taken that on board.