Internet company Yahoo! will launch its new search offering Search Direct in the Indian market by second half of 2011, according to PTI. Yahoo!’s chief scientist, senior vice-president and head (Yahoo! Labs), Prabhakar Raghavan informed that Search Direct, which essentially predicts search results as the user types a query, will be available in India in the next few months. He added that the concept behind the product is to provide answers and not just links, to search queries and the Search direct will focus on search intents. Search Direct (in Public Beta) was launched in the US last week.

At first we thought that the product would be similar to Google Instant and offer results as the user types. However, on using Search Direct, we found out that it is more of a suggestions feature than a full fledged instant search.

– On clicking the search box, a list of ‘trending searches’ appears, a mouse-over on these topics further lists news, top sites and a link to twitter results(only on some keywords). For example, Cricket World Cup 2011, suggested ESPNCricinfo, and Yahoo cricket. However, we like the fact that when we added live to the search, it suggested ESPNStar’s live stream.

– The good part is that a lot of suggestions are displayed for each term. However, for some key words it may display an empty suggestions box. This behavior shows that the focus is on suggestions than on results, unlike Google Instant.

– Typing ‘weather’ displayed three day weather forecast for our location, New Delhi, automatically. However, movie listings were not available in Search Direct for our location. Google Instant displays movie listings when one enters the keyword ‘movies’. This might be because the product is more focussed on the American market, but this may change when it officially launches in India.

Although, we like the suggestions box concept, we would also like to see the complete search listings as we enter a search query. Also, it would be a good idea to include top tweets, latest news, movie listings and live scores in the box.

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