Yahoo! announced yesterday evening that they were planning to launch a new search tool that would work to index the content behind the passwords of subscription based sites like LexisNexis and The content is considered part of the "invisible web" because search engines do not currently index the content of password protected sites.

With news breaking weekly over new search technology being released by Google, MSN and Ask Jeeves, it's no surprise to see Yahoo! stepping up to the plate with a nifty new tool. With search moving beyond the indexing of simple HTML pages, consumers have been able to enjoy access to dynamic content, blog posts, book text, images, product information and even audio and video. In other words, the invisible web is shrinking.

The service will be called Yahoo! Search Subscriptions and is currently available in beta form. The feature allows users to search multiple databases from a single interface and includes results from, the Financial Times, Forrester Research, IEEE Publications, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the Wall Street Journal.

While the search results are provided in the same format as a traditional search, users will need to have an account with each Web site if they want to view the full text of the page. In other words, Yahoo! will tell you that it's there, but you'll still need to pay to access it. There are currently some limits to the searches, including a limit of content from the past 30 days for the Wall Street Journal and content from the past 60 days for the Financial Times. It's also important to note that the search results from Yahoo! Search Subscriptions are limited to the subscription content of a site, you'll need to use traditional Yahoo! search for the free content of each site.

Publishers of subscriber based content are invited to share their data with the engine by filling out a Publisher Interest Form on the site. Users are also able to suggest sites that they would like to see Yahoo! include in the listings. The company plans to add data from LexisNexis, Thomas Gale and Factiva later this summer.

Check out Yahoo! Search Subscriptions.

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June 16, 2005

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

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