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Thursday, 21st December 2006

Y!Q and Yahoo Maps: New Feature Integrates Info, Maps and More into Yahoo Mail (Classic Version Only)

Looks like Yahoo's Y!Q contextual search technology is now working with Yahoo Mail with the addition of Yahoo Mail "shortcuts."

If you're still using the "classic version" of Yahoo Mail (vs. the beta version) addresses and location names included in an email message will now be highlighted with a purple line (very Yahoo). Simply place your mouse over one of these purple lines and a you should see a pop-up box containing:

+ Maps/Satellite image
+ Business information
+ Driving directions
+ Phone numbers (one-click) to add to your address book

According to the blog post, also look for these "purple lines" with phone numbers, email addresses, and "key phrases." You can also disable. If you're already using the Yahoo Mail Beta, it's easy to switch back. Look for the link labeled "switch back" on the upper left side of page. This will take you back to the classic version. Then, if you want to go back to the beta version, a link labeled "Switch to the Yahoo! Mail Beta" should be visible as you review your email messages.

More info here and a screen cap on the Yahoo Local blog. A couple of additional screen caps here and here.

Two notes:
1) For some messages in my email in-box cities were not highlighted. No service is perfect. Perhaps we can strike this one up to opening day jitters. :-)
2) Disambiguation. For example, a message includes the city name, London. Period? When this happened to us this morning the service assumes it's London, U.K. However, what if the email is about London, Ontario, Canada? We were unable to find a link to other cities named London and then get to a map and other info for the location. If the email says Rome, most likely Rome, Italy but what about Rome, NY? In other words, lots of cities have the same name.
3) Yahoo has been promoting the "new" Yahoo Mail for quite some time. Releasing this service only to those using the "classic" version seems a bit of a backwards step since Yahoo has promoted the beta version throughout 2006. Let's see if this new feature will be available with the Yahoo Mail (beta version) in the near future.

See Also: Gmail from Google Began Offering Similar Contextual Features in Early 2006 (via Search Engine Journal)

See Also: Learn More About Y!Q
See Also: Y!Q Examples

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