Yahoo gets help from Yelp to fight Google

Yelp user reviews and business information will appear in Yahoo search results

Yahoo search results include local business listings from Yelp.

Yahoo search results include local business listings from Yelp.

Searching on Yahoo will now deliver local business reviews from Yelp, through a partnership that could help Yahoo search compete against Google, or at least make it more useful.

Yahoo said Wednesday that it had partnered with Yelp, as part of its efforts to provide a richer experience to its users. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

The announcement confirms rumors surrounding Yahoo's interest in Yelp to improve its local search results. Yahoo's revenue has sagged in recent quarters, and an enhanced version of search could help generate more ad sales.

The integration with Yelp is a content partnership, a Yahoo spokeswoman said. Yelp user reviews, business information, star ratings and photos will appear in the right-hand panel as part of the changes. The listings will appear in the results for Yahoo search as well as within Yahoo maps, for desktop, smartphone and tablet users in the U.S.

Links to directions within Yahoo maps, business hours and menus also appear in Yahoo's local search results.

The integration does not appear yet to generate Yelp's listings for every business in Yelp, though additional listings will be added in the coming months, Yahoo said.

Yelp has grown to become a popular service, but whether it will help Yahoo take market share away from Google is a tall order. Google has provided a range of similar information about local businesses through its search results for some time now.

The Yelp partnership comes as Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer seeks to make other improvements in search. Mayer recently said that "contextual search," particularly on mobile devices, would be a focus going forward. Contextual search, she said, could provide people with more personalized content by detecting signals from their surroundings.

On mobile devices, Yahoo's app already incorporates the user's location to display more relevant search results such as restaurants and movie times.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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