foobar on computers, software and the rest of the world


Sorry, Yahoo! Your image search sucks...

, posted: 6-Oct-2007 09:49

Something a little bit different than my usual topics (open source, Linux, etc.)

I recently started to use Yahoo as my default search engine. The reason is mostly just to see if they can be an alternative to Google, which just gets a little bit too omnipresent for my taste. I know, Yahoo will also happily mine all user data and profile information it can get. But they are not on as many web properties as Google, and are a better supporter of open source (possibly out of necessity). So, why not give them a try?

Anyway, the search results are fine, but the image search? Forget it!

As an example, search for 'Apple 2' on Google and then on Yahoo. Click on 'images' to see the image search results. While Google will show pages of photos of Apple computers, Yahoo shows three images if the Apple 2, followed by ... apples. You know, the fruit? I would have thought that 'Apple 2' would be a strong enough indicator of what I'm looking for, but no such luck.

Another test: Do an image search for "Infobar 2 KDDI handset". That's a new, fancy mobile phone from Japan. Anyway, on Google you get pages of mobile phone images again, not all of them showing that particular model, but at least it is there on the first page. On Yahoo? Nothing at all! It's like they never heard of it before. Interestingly, the normal web-search on Yahoo reveals results. Looks like their image extraction algorithms are quite poor.

I like Yahoo as a search engine, but they really need to get their image search into working order...


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Comment by chakkaradeep, on 6-Oct-2007 17:43

I would suggest you to look into their advance search options and you will get to know the difference. The search handled by every search engine is different. Google is so friendly that it adds the default way it would suggest you to search than you making any queries to your search text.

Coming to your "Apple 2" image search.

In images.google.search, after searching for "Apple 2" (with the quotes) it searches related to the exact phrase and I get many apple (fruit) pictures , lol. But if you search just for Apple 2 (removing quotes) the result is related to the exact phrase and I get all those Apple Corporation's Apple desktops and related to them.

Do the same test with Yahoo Image Search and you will see the difference



Author's note by foobar, on 8-Oct-2007 09:06

chakkaradeep: You know, I tried that. But somehow for me, the results are equally disappointing, quotes or not.

Also, if Google managed to tune its image search in such a way that it finds the 'right stuff' by default, and Yahoo did not do that, then Yahoo didn't do a good job. Whatever the advanced search may offer, the default should just work for obvious searches such as this one...


Comment by chakkaradeep, on 8-Oct-2007 11:18

Yea, I agree, Yahoo takes exact phrase as the default one but google takes the opposite.


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New Zealand


  • Who I am: Software developer and consultant.
  • What I do: System level programming, Linux/Unix. C, C++, Java, Python, and a long time ago even Assembler.
  • What I like: I'm a big fan of free and open source software. I'm Windows-free, running Ubuntu on my laptop. To a somewhat lesser degree, I also follow the SaaS industry.
  • Where I have been: Here and there, all over the place.




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