Thursday, AOL announced a lengthy slate of improvements it's making to its search utility. Though the Internet pioneer's improvements are diverse, AOL is putting a lot of effort into localized searches and search-results quality.
A survey released last week by online-performance service firm Keynote Systems Inc. indicates that Yahoo's improved ability to display geographically localized results has won it increased loyalty. Those using Microsoft's search engine said its results rose in quality after Microsoft separated paid search results from unpaid results.
AOL is working with search-technology firm Fast Search & Transfer to improve AOL's ability to show results that relate to a person's geographic area.
It's also working with a company called Ingenio to prompt searchers to call an advertiser rather than click to the business' site. These advertisers will be displayed in a designated spot on the site.
AOL Thursday added sorting and clustering search features, as well. Software from a company called Vivisimo has been deployed to group results by topic on the same page as a regular, unorganized list of results. AOL says it helps people more quickly find what they are looking for.
A new feature called SmartBox is live on the site, and it's described as a suggestion tool. People type in a word and before they push "search," SmartBox shows some narrower terms likely to be highly related to the original term. People can then click on the narrower term to get more-tailored results.