Yahoo started in 1994 as a web directory, from 1996 AltaVista was offered additionally, if the catalogue did not show any correspondence. Yahoo comes from the USA and was developed by Jerry Yang and David Filo. In 1997, Yahoo introduced an e-mail service, other products followed, today Yahoo is a web portal (access to web products such as web, image, video, news search, mail, instant messaging, soping, community services and more). Since 1998, Inktomi has been used as a search engine in addition to the catalogue. In 2002, Yahoo gave up catalogue search and switched to Google. From 2003, Yahoo! Search had its own web crawler-based search engine. In 2011 they switched to Bing, in 2015 they switched to Google and since 2019 Bing is used again.

Since 2003 Yahoo! offers an image search. It was created during the development of Yahoo!'s first own search technology. In 2005, Yahoo! reportedly indexed 1.6 billion images. Right from the start, Yahoo! offered enhanced image search functionality. Search results can be limited to size and color. Previously the type of website could be restricted, now it can be limited to the file type. Furthermore, information about the image rights is given, which can also be used to limit the results.

With the change from Yahoo's own search technology in 2011 to Bing, 2015 to Google and since 2019 back to Bing, the vertical search offers of Bing and Google were also used.

Language Multilingual

Launched 2003
Closed No

Developer Yahoo Inc

Country of Origin US America

2003 - [...] Yahoo Inc

Topic Image SeEn

Region No Limitation

Technical functionalities
Robot/Crawler based, algorithmic search
Image file search
Search engine for special file formats
Search Interface / Search API
Content-based image retrieval (CBIR)

Used SeEn Yahoo Image Search
Bing Image Search

Older Version Internet Archive / WebCite

Phil Bradley (2005): » The Yahoo Image Search page is exactly the same as the home page, which made me blink, since I was expecting perhaps slightly different treatment for a different type of search. However, that's my expectation, rather than anything to do with Yahoo! although annoyingly I wasn't presented with a different URL, which means that it's difficult to link to directly - I should in fairness point out that they do have a specific page [4] but it's not clear when looking at their home page. Advanced search functionality was better than that provided by Google, since I could limit my search to size (wallpaper, large medium or small, giving a further option to those offered by Google), by colour (colour, black or white or either) and importantly by type of site, such as .com, .edu or .gov. Now, I could actually do this in Google using the site: syntax, but equally I knew how to do that anyway, so a prompt by Google would be helpful for people who were unaware of the option.

My 'Robert E Lee' search gave 12,000 results, all but one of the first 20 being on target. Moreover, I was prompted by Yahoo! to narrow my search with different terms, by size or colour. The display options followed the same pattern as offered by Google.

'Tony Blair' gave me 32,254 and all but one were appropriate. However, what was interesting was that almost all of the them were 'sensible' images rather than some of the silly ones that Google provided. This is I think an important point - there's no point in getting thousands of results if they're not really on target, so relevance is in many ways more important with images than with webpages.

The term 'flower' gave 1,896,188 results and again, only one of the first 20 was not relevant (a flower girl at a wedding). Moreover, all the images were obviously of flowers, without some of the slightly abstract representations Google gave me.

The term 'internet' served up 6,481,220 images (a lot more than Google), and they were a mixture of cartoons, diagrams, photographs of keyboards and so on. Obviously it's a personal call regarding the question of relevance, but once more, Yahoo! did out perform Google, at least as far as I was concerned.

Consequently, while Google may well style itself as comprehensive, while in most of the searches it outperformed its rival, I did not feel the actual images returned were as appropriate as those found by Yahoo!« Source

»Use Image Search to find photos and illustrations from all over the Web.
Find:Photos, Drawings, Diagrams, Logos, Icons, and more.« Source

Tim Mayer (August 08, 2005): »As it turns out we have grown our index and just reached a significant milestone at Yahoo! Search – our index now provides access to over 20 billion items. While we typically don't disclose size (since we've always said that size is only one dimension of the quality of a search engine), for those who are curious this update includes just over 19.2 billion web documents, 1.6 billion images, and over 50 million audio and video files.« Source


Critical points

Features & Functionality

FELICE SCHMERTZLER (2012): »Yahoo also provides the “latest in images” similar to Bing. However, there are a few differences: To access Yahoo’s “latest in images”, you must click on the “Image Search” button without having searched anything. Then the images are split up by categories including: sports, music, movies, politics, fashion, etc. Again, this can be helpful in finding current images quickly as well as generally staying involved in what is popular. However, most users will continue to input a specific search query and hope for good results. Using “Biotechnology” as our test query, Yahoo provides an initial page with a set number of results and a button at the bottom that is labeled “Show More Images.” Yahoo’s approach– Yahoo takes a different approach to image search than Google and Bing. Yahoo focuses on High Quality (HQ) images in its search. Every search will appear with the first two rows of results being HQ images and the first images will say something along the lines of “999+ High Quality Images.” If you click on this first photo, you will be redirected to a slide show of the high quality images. Ads– Lastly, Yahoo also has Ads at the top of the image search. There will generally be a thin strip of about three ads lining the top of the page. Ads generally are related to the search. For example, searching “biotechnology” provides ads such as “what is biotechnology” on, “human genome sciences” on and “biotech summits/events” on As ads generally are, these are more of an inconvenient distraction then a benefit.« Source


Example results page for "sand": Source

References & further Publications

Wikipedia (EN): n.a.
Wikipedia (Others): n.a.

Other Sources

Yahoo! PR (April 7, 2003): Yahoo! Introduces New Yahoo! Search URL:
Yahoo! Search Tour : Image Search URL:

Created: 2013-03-11