Yahoo might be trying to find a way back into search

And it could involve mobile

Marissa Mayer reportedly talked about getting Yahoo back into search last week in a speech before the Goldman Sachs Investor's Conference. And re/code reports a new search product could involve mobile.

Mayer has a difficult road ahead of her when it comes to carving out a place for a pure Yahoo search because her predecessor signed a 10 year deal with Microsoft to serve up Bing search results for web-based searches, but clever woman that she is, Mayer might have found a way around this deal.

We know that people are buying fewer and fewer PCs and more and more mobile devices, and Mayer of course understands this trend as well--and as she looked for a way to get into search, mobile seemed to be the perfect way to deliver Yahoo branded search results without violating her company's deal with Microsoft.

According to the re/code article, this involves two main projects which go by the code names, Fast Break and Curve Ball--guess Mayer must be a sports fan. And the new search tool could involve using mobile context, presumably around location and other information they can glean from a mobile device, as well as what they know about the user as they interact with various Yahoo services. She believes they can use this data to build a better understanding of each one and provide contextualized search results that wouldn't violate their Microsoft contract.

re/code reported that Mayer had this to say about contextualized search when she spoke to the Goldman Sachs audience:

"When I look at things like contextual search, I get really excited," she said earlier this week at the Goldman Sachs investors conference in San Francisco. "The amount of information available to build a service on is just incredible."

If the Yahoo team has the gumption to build such a tool, Yahoo could do a nifty end-around the current Bing contract while beating Google and Microsoft to this crucial market and taking another step toward making Yahoo relevant again.

Yahoo still has a long way to go though. Its most recent earnings report showed a company still struggling with lower sales and profit earnings, not the news investors want to hear.

If Yahoo can pull this off though, and do it well, while also finding a way to monetize mobile search, it might stop that slide. It won't be an easy path of course, but if Mayer can make it happen, it has tremendous potential.

For more information:
- see the re/code article

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