Yahoo Australia search producer Peter Crowe revealed that the company had started testing Inktomiâ€™s search engine on projects at a number of the companyâ€™s regional portals to see if it provides a viable alternative to Googleâ€™s crawler-based search engine.
CROWE INDICATED that if Inktomi could produce results relevant to each regionâ€™s market, then the company would not hesitate to make the switch.
The trial will involve measuring Inktomi against a number of search engines, including Google.
â€œIf the Inktomi results are better for Australian users, weâ€™ll switch to Inktomi…and if they end up being better for each region, it will be used there,â€ said Crowe.
Crowe said the decision to make the switch will be made on case-by-case basis, with each region assessing how well Inktomi produces search results relevant to the local market.
Speculation that Yahoo was maneuvering to wean itself off Google grew after it announced it would buy Inktomi in December 2002.
When Yahoo finalized the purchase in March this year, the company said it needed to avoid becoming dependent on a single third-party provider in order to ensure that it could â€œcontrol its own destiny.â€
Yahoo agreed to use Googleâ€™s search engine for its algorithmic (nonpaid) search facility in October 2002, and it has been using the service in conjunction with all of its portals with the exception of a few that serve Asian markets.
Yahooâ€™s agreement with Google isnâ€™t due to expire until late 2004, but according to Crowe, its contract with the search provider doesnâ€™t contain any exclusivity clauses.