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updated 3/23/2011 5:04:16 PM ET 2011-03-23T21:04:16

Yahoo is updating its search engine with a feature that attempts to answer Web surfers' questions before they even finish typing.

Search Direct, which is still in "beta" test mode, is Yahoo Inc.'s answer to a similar Google Inc. feature called Instant Search. Both start making suggestions with the first keystroke, and Google and Yahoo both suggest a list of possible search terms that changes as people type.

But while Google immediately populates a search results page with blue links, Yahoo displays a box with instant information and answers for some types of searches at search.yahoo.com. Yahoo announced the feature Wednesday.

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