A couple of weeks ago (mid-June) I’ve participated in our internal Yahoo! EU Hack Day. This time around I’ve decided to tinker with Yahoo! SearchMonkey by building a couple of modules (dubbed SearchMonkey apps) during the 24 hours available.
In case you have never heard about SearchMonkey: it’s a technology built into Yahoo! Search that allows developers to present their own or other peoples’ sites in a different way (examples to follow). These search result augmentations are dubbed “SearchMonkey apps”.
The Search users then have the option to use the SearchMonkey apps they like, which enhances their search results by presenting them in a different way; review sites for example might present their articles in a way that includes the rating or verdict of the reviewed item. There is a good number of different apps available at the SearchMonkey Apps Gallery.
Using SearchMonkey doesn’t influence the ranking or the order of the results; it displays the results in the same order, just differently.
Anyways. I ended up writing 6 apps, and most of them I’d like to share. For more information about a particular app, just click the links. They’ll take you to the related Gallery listing, where you’ll have the option to enable the app for your searches.
Whenever a Twitter profile turns up in your search, you’ll get a bit more information about the person—number of followers, number of people followed, name, bio, location, last tweet. like this:
By the way, it doesn’t query the Twitter API; instead it just grabs the HTML page and extracts the publicly available information.
(On a related note, there’s apparently another Twitter SearchMonkey app, but I couldn’t find the installation link to give it a try. Bart, the developer, does things in a more complex and probably more fail-safe way; in my defense, I wanted to keep it simple.)
If a Wikipedia article is found, the app will show you its first paragraph and, if available, a thumbnail of the first image. Also the category:
Xing is a more Europe-centric LinkedIn contender. It’s big in Germany. If a Xing person is found, the app shows the mugshot, the location, the title and the industry. Unfortunately Xing doesn’t reveal the company on public profiles unless you’re logged in, which my SM app clearly is not. Still:
In a desperate attempt to suck up to Anil Dash (I kid) I’ve hacked together a module to show the profile of any Vox blogger when a related page is found:
Using cutting edge high tech web 3.0 algorithms straight out of Munich, Germany, this module is able to extract the gist of any given Techcrunch or Valleywag article.
I don’t like these sites very much. At least their Yahoo! coverage (which I am interested in, given my background) is usually hysterical and often times sensationalist. DO. NOT. WANT.
Well, that’s it. Maybe you like those, maybe not. :) If you’re interested in writing your own apps for Yahoo! SearchMonkey now, take a look at the official Manual for SearchMonkey Developers and Publishers! And if you’re now wondering what other applications might be out there, the Gallery is a good place to start.
UPDATE/DISCLAIMER: Even though I work for Yahoo! during the day, these are NOT official SearchMonkey apps by Yahoo!. You’re looking at personal stuff. Again, this post, as everything on this site and under this domain, is NOT YAHOO! BUSINESS. Thank you.