Yahoo is taking the first step in the integration of its services with those of Arab portal Maktoob which it acquired last summer. Yahoo Search is now live on Maktoob.com and the entire site got a Yahoo (read 'purple') make-over. There is also a dedicated Yahoo Search page that is more spartan than the regular Yahoo Search, which in turn takes more than a few cues from Google's homepage.
"Yahoo! Search is now live on Maktoob, the leading online Arabic-language community. This first launch from the Yahoo!-Maktoob partnership combines Yahoo!’s popular product and services with Maktoob’s compelling local content, bringing users the best of both sites," Kaushal Kurapati, director of Product Management in Emerging Markets at Yahoo Search wrote. "This is just the beginning of our long-term commitment to deliver relevant Arabic-language content and services to the region. Stay tuned for more news about our efforts in these emerging markets."
This is the first time the Yahoo search engine has been available in Arabic. The newly launched maktoob.search.yahoo.com isn't a complete replacement for Yahoo Search as a lot of features are missing altogether. At this point, it looks like a stripped down version of the regular search engine with no sidebar, no suggestion box or any other 'advanced' feature.
It just lists the results, in a right-to-left layout and borrows some of the design elements from the main search engine, but that's it for now. Hopefully, this will evolve over time. The results themselves also seem plucked straight from the English version of the search engine, at least for English-language queries.
Things are a bit different over at Maktoob.com. The portal borrowed some elements from the latest Yahoo homepage, but for the most part it looks a bit more utilitarian. The search box, featured prominently at the top, doesn't lead to Yahoo Search but rather to a custom search page on Maktoob. The results can be restricted for content on the portal itself, but there is also a web search tab, which uses Yahoo Search as a backend. Yahoo plans to roll out Arabic versions of its other popular services like Yahoo Mail, Messenger and even the homepage.