CI Review: Yippy

What It Is:

Yippy is a search engine that queries other search engines, then groups the results together in clusters.

Information Provided:

  • Automatic categorization of search results
  • Parsing of results into logical groupings by content, search engine source, or top-level domain
  • Ability to streamline search results, making them simpler to examine

Description:

Yippy gives users multiple ways of ranking search results that it obtains from multiple search engines all over the Web. It combines search results into clusters and then provides several ways of manipulating those groupings, according to the needs of the individual task at hand.

The technology behind Yippy was developed by and recently purchased from the company Vivismo, where it was called “Clusty.” The new owner, Yippy Inc., continues to refine the engine to provide simpler, more robust search that can help competitive intelligence professionals rapidly focus in on the subset of search results that are most useful to their purposes.

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Market research in the early stages of the product’s development revealed that most users examine only the first three or so pages of the results they obtain from a search engine. While that tendency is logical given the time constraints most of us operate under, it’s also a problem when results can easily stretch to many dozens or hundreds of pages.

Yippy provides a novel approach that helps overcome that issue. In the words of Emily Parker, VP of operations for Yippy Incorporated, “People aren’t going to go to page 20 or page 40 of Google results, because it’s too time-consuming. Because we index and cluster the results by category, you’re more likely to find what you’re looking for on the first page.”

One approach to overcoming this issue has been to create very complex search strings, and indeed, Google in particular is designed to support syntax in search strings that resembles programming code. While that approach is well suited to programmers and database administrators who are well accustomed to complex, machine-oriented queries, it is simply not accessible to many competitive intelligence professionals and mainstream business users.

Yippy specializes in using very simple search requests, which it submits to multiple search engines. While it returns an enormous number of results, it also goes a step further by providing the means to easily categorize and navigate through them. Whereas most search engines return a flat listing of pages, Yippy gives a hierarchical set of results designed to help users easily refine what they are looking for.

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This approach takes some of the burden off of the user, in terms of anticipating how the search engine might interpret their needs. As a result, the search process becomes a sort of conversational give and take between Yippy and the user. The left pane of the results page provides three tabs that provide simple means to re-categorize results at a glance.

There is also a series of content categories accessible from just above the search box, including web, jobs, government, and so on that let you easily specify the type of information you want. As Parker said, “I recommend that people should make good use of those categories. We have really taken a lot of the complexity out of search with those tools, and they are very effective at returning the specific types of results you want.”

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The “clouds” tab provides a set of content-oriented categories, as well as a “remix” button that automatically generates a completely new categorization scheme, helping users re-conceive the results with a single click. The “sources” tab allows easy navigation according to which search engine returned the results, and the “sites” tab groups the results by top-level domain (“.com,” “.org,” etc.), which gives easy filtering by the type and geographical location of the organization whose Web page hosts the results.

Yippy maintains a large number of custom databases that help it intelligently generate its results, and it also leverages certain external resources, such as the ability to pull results specifically from the Library of Congress or the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Similarly, it blocks certain types of extraneous content, such as pornography, which helps to reduce the noise in the results. On the whole, Yippy does a good job of streamlining the search process without sacrificing robustness and flexibility.

Competitive Intelligence Usefulness:

Using Yippy, competitive intelligence professionals can move what they are looking for from being deeply embedded within a sea of search results to the top layer, using a variety of different means to do so. Since that corresponds to one of the key goals of Cascade Insights (and competitive intelligence in general, for that matter), Yippy is definitely worth a look.

By Sean Campbell
By Scott Swigart

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