Yahoo just released My Web 2.0 yesterday and brings a whole new dimension to search.

My Web 2.0 is a social search engine. Yahoo combines the power of search technology and the power of personal networks to deliver a search engine that is based upon your trusted community. Web 2.0 searches your trusted network of contacts for pages that you and your contacts have saved.

With the release of My Web 2.0, Yahoo has added a ton of new features – all based upon community based searching and extending personal networks.

Getting Started with My Web 2.0 Beta

There are three steps to getting started with My Web 2.0:

  • Activate My Web 2.0 Beta.
  • Import your bookmarks.
  • Add friends to your community and start sharing what you know.

First off click here and active My Web 2.0. If you are already using My Web 1.0 and you are afraid of upgrading, don’t worry because you can always switch back by going to the Search Preference page.

After activating My Web 2.0, you will want to import your bookmarks. Yahoo gives you two options for importing, you can import bookmarks from Internet Explorer and Yahoo! Bookmarks and you can also import links from RSS feeds. I really like the ability to import links from RSS feeds – Yahoo has always been ahead of its competition with regards to RSS.

The last step is the most important. Without any friends in your community, there is not much benefit to using a social search engine. So after you active My Web 2.0, start inviting people to your community. Remember that your community determines the trust network, so invite people you think have the same concept of relevancy as you do. The more contacts you add and the more pages you save – the more you’ll be able to share what you know and discover better answers from your network.

Searching My Web 2.0 is very straightforward. The My Web 2.0 home page features a search form at the top of the page, allowing you to search My Web or the entire web. Beneath this is a small dashboard displaying information from your personal web, your community, and the global community. The dashboard gives you a fast overview of saved pages, tags, and contacts.

Tapping Into Shared Knowledge

A search in My Web 2.0 will bring up a search result page that looks like Yahoo’s current search result page – but the information displayed is totally different. Search results in My Web 2.0 are derived solely from your community. The search result page displays results from your own personal saved pages and your community’s saved pages. Your own personal pages are displayed above your community’s pages.

Above the search results are three tabs and each displays a different view. Each of the views can be filtered by personal web, community, or everyone.

  • Pages – web pages that people have saved.
  • Tags – labels that people use to describe saved pages.
  • Contacts – group of contacts within a community.

The “Pages” view displays a list of your saved pages and the information corresponding to each saved page:

  • Title of Page – this is user defined
  • Person sharing the page
  • Tags associated with the page
  • Page access (personal, community, everyone)
  • Date the page was saved
  • Email or IM the page to a friend
  • Delete the page
  • Sort the page by date, title, or url

The “Tags” and “Contacts” views are very similar to the “Pages” view except they display tagging and contact information. You can navigate through any of the links in the views to see related results. For example, clicking on a contact will allow you to see that contact’s saved pages, tags and the people that contact is connected to. Same goes for clicking on a tag.

My Web 2.0 APIs

In conjunction with the My Web 2.0 release, Yahoo has also opened up access to MyWeb 2.0 Webservices. The public functions of MyWeb 2.0 are available through the web services API. You can use this API to search for URLs that have been tagged by a particular tag, search for tags, including views by URL and by user, or find tags that appear together on URLs.

Using the API you can create an application that will be able to discover what words people label a page as – great way to determine relevancy and page topic.

Very cool.

Future Features

Yahoo has already talked about adding new features to My Web 2.0:

Groups, in which you may share frog links with your herpetology pals
Invite process will be dekludgified
Unidirectional relationships, since we know you’re so popular more people want to know you than you want to know
Improved performance: faster, faster, faster, woo!
More integrated structured tagging. We’ve got location, event and people tagging, and these will be baked into the UI.
Better collaboration tools of many varieties

My Web 2.0 is the Future

Since this is Yahoo, their massive user base will translate into a huge network effect. As more people use the service, the more invaluable it becomes for everyone. Why does this matter? We are seeing a transition from old school search engines to new more personal engines – search engine marketers will need to adapt and develop new techniques to stay afloat.

I can see search engine marketing and buzz/viral marketing combining in some areas in the future.

My Web 2.0 is a big innovation from Yahoo and I expect to see more efforts from Yahoo and its competitors to personalize search.

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