Yahoo Launches Sorting Tool For Search Results

May 31, 2005 (02:05 PM EDT)

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Yahoo Inc. has released in beta a tool that sorts search results according to whether they are commercial or more informational, such as from academic or research-oriented sources.

Called Mindset, the tool is available through the Yahoo Research Labs site Yahoo Next.

Mindset appears as a slider on the top of Yahoo search results. The midpoint of the slider is the default setting that shows the order of results matching Yahoo's normal listing. Moving the slider to the right rearranges the results so non-commercial information is listed first. Moving it to the left, and the results are re-sorted in favor of shopping results.

Mindset is based on two different types of technical research, text classification and machine learning. The former refers to classifying documents automatically into different subject categories, while the latter is based on algorithms that can improve a computer's ability to perform a task the more times the machine does it.

Machine learning is used in Mindset to score search results on a continuous scale ranging from "very commercial" to "very non-commercial," officials with the Sunnyvale, Calif., entertainment portal said.

The new tool can be tried on Yahoo, and does not require downloading software.