Yippy: Google Alternatives

A look at Yippy

Jack's probably seen his result on Yippy,

YIPPEE! You cannot hide the look of excitement on Jack’s face after seeing ‘Jack Russell Terrier’ on Yippy.com. Photograph by Emery Way (Creative Commons License – Some Rights Reserved)

Woolwich to Islington; Newton Heath to Old Trafford; Wimbledon to Milton Keynes: what do they all have in common? Controversial changes in locality involving football clubs. You’ll be wondering why these have anything to do with search engine directories.

In the case of Yippy, quite applicable. In May 2010, Clusty.com was taken over by an internet start up in Florida. Before 2010, it had a liberal stance and eschewed censorship. Nowadays it is wholly in favour of censorship, family friendly search results and the promotion of conservative values. A shift just as controversial as Wimbledon’s to Milton Keynes and its rebranding as Milton Keynes Dons.

Before we castigate Yippy for being a libertarian conservative search engine (that’s enough of the politics for now) we should look at its other merits. From what we’ve seen of its results, they are pretty good.

Introduction

Yippy.com has its roots in an earlier search engine known as Clusty. The previous name so-called owing to how its results were clustered. Like today’s forerunner it was a metacrawler search engine whereby queries from various search engines are agglomerated within its pages. Clusty was developed by Vivisimo, developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.

Yippy retains Clusty’s technology. Rather than being named after the Youth International Party (who narked off David Frost in LWT’s Frost on Sunday back in 1970), it is inspired by an exclamation of delight. The ‘y’ at the end instead of ‘ee’ is probably a nod to Clusty.

Yippy is aimed at families. As stated in its page on Censorship:

Yippy may remove from its output, in an ad-hoc manner, all but not limited to the following:

  1. Pornographic Material;
  2. Gambling content;
  3. Sexual products or sites that sell same;
  4. Sites deemed inappropriate for children.

Not only that, Yippy is an exponent of online privacy. No personal details are collected.

Finding your way around Yippy

On loading, the user is presented with a straightforward title page with a search box. S/he could choose to view the results in Tablet or Mobile views. Using the search term “Manchester Arndale” as our example, the Web view shows our results for the shopping centre on the right. On the left is our cluster box with four tabs.

The first tab Clouds enable us to look at sections within the cluster. Results inside the cloud section are congruent with the search term. Some results have an expandable bullet point which allow users to drill deeper down.

Clicking on the expandable bullet next to ‘Store’ for example includes further results. In our search, another three appear: ‘Malls’, ‘Arndale Centre Manchester’ and ‘Other Topics’. The third term could include references to its long gone infamous bus station or what happened to the wooden horses on Marsden Way.

Clicking the Sources tab enables us to find where its results came from. In our case, a fair number came from Highbeam Research (which offers links to verified sources for journalists at a premium rate). The bulk of which came from Yippy Index IV.

Results are also clustered in accordance to domain types. On clicking the Sites tab, the bulk of our results with the Manchester Arndale search term are for sites with .com domains. This is closely followed by those with .uk domains (.co.uk and .uk).

Clicking the Years tab enables us to look at the age of our results. The Past Year section within this cloud looks at those from 2014. Those within the Previous Years section, 2013 and earlier.

If you’re not happy with the allocated clusters, click on Remix and it let it shuffle them for you.

Usage of icons

After the link title, each Yippy result has four icons. Two boxes together denote a New Window. This allows us to load the site in another tab. The magnifying glass enables us to preview at the website. This loads inside another window within the search engine results. Clicking the cloud (which is actually a three circled Venn diagram) lets Yippy highlight each result’s cloud. For example, if it belongs to Past Year in the Years tab, this would be highlighted in the top left.

The last icon of the four is the red flag. This enables you to report any site that you think is inappropriate nor meets Yippy’s family friendly criteria.

At the bottom of the cluster box is four boxed ‘A’s varying in size. Though you can scale the size up or down using your web browser, the four As allow you to increase or decrease the text size with a mouse.

Other delights

As well as its desktop, mobile and tablet based searches, Yippy also offers a version for Nintendo Wii users (Yippy Wii). There is also Yippy Cloud which is a cloud creator. Using your desired keyword phrase it suggests a number of similar phrases. Almost like a thesaurus.

Yuckout is designed for younger web users. The results include Yippy’s clustering system though with a simpler layout. Designed for devotees of American Football is Yippy Football, a gridiron themed search engine.

Good for helping your children to do their homework with is Yippy Shakespeare, which is a dependable source for all things of a William Shakespeare nature. Their clustering system allows for easy reference of characters, plays and each line. Yippy Ben offers a similar equivalent, with the quotes of Benjamin Franklin.

The safe option

Yippy.com is more of a family orientated search engine. Its socially aware though liberal conservatism may jar a little for some users but overall, it is one search engine which younger browsers can use with impunity. Its sister search engine Yuckout.com is not only suitable for users aged 12 and under. It is also good for visually impaired people owing to its bigger text and minimalistic layout.

There lies one thing: is it a suitable alternative to Google? For businesses, perhaps a bit limited. On the other hand, its clustered results makes for accurate search results. The Yippy Cloud is good though limited in scope, in the sense one has no control over the number of entries.

Yippy is best as a secondary search engine, an ideal complement to Google though nothing more.

The Manchester Business Forum, 04 August 2015.