Yahoo search recently launched Search Direct. This is their equivalent to Google's instant search and has been referred to in Yahoos official blog as the "Search Box of Awesome".
This is currently in Beta only in the US but there are plans to roll this out to the UK and EMEA markets over the next 6 months.
Upon clicking in the Search Direct Box
You are presented with the top 10 trending searches:
The idea of the Search Direct box is to provide Yahoo searchers with the simplest and fastest way of finding answers, not links. Based upon the SQ the Search Direct box will present the top three rich media answers to the query. Where no rich media result can be provided the top three organic results will be selected algorithmically. For the time being that means there will be no advertising in the Search Direct box.
After typing in a full or partial query you are provided with the top 10 most likely search queries (longer tail etc) and against each of these the top 3 results are provided in either rich or non rich media.
Eg Rich media
Hovering over another most likely query amends the rich results
Eg. No rich media
The impact is very much dependant on the level of interaction and uptake. Would the Search Direct box replace the traditional search query box if successful?
For SEO's this could have an a more immediate impact should there be a lot of uptake. Appearing in the top 3 positions would become increasingly important as Search Direct box use increased. For the time being as this is only a Beta and you have to navigate away from the traditional search box.
As mentioned previously the Search Direct box contains no paid for advertisements currently. As search evolves and especially social search this could very well change and would obviously impact bidding strategies immensely. How much volume would be linked to the top three positions in a world where the Search Direct box was standard?