Internet giant Yahoo! is piloting a 'personal' online search service.

My Web can keep a record of every Yahoo search result a user has clicked and save annotated personal copies of important pages.

The California-headquartered company is hoping this customised archiving will create a 'halo effect' whereby users share their favourite websites via email, instant messenger or the company's new networking tool. The result, it hopes, will be to draw in audiences and boost its online advertising business.

Says Salim Mitha, head of Yahoo Search in the UK: "With My Web we are primarily aiming to increase user control over the web. With that comes increased user engagement, which benefits publishers and feeds into the advertising side of our business."

My Web is competing with arch-rival Google's personalized service called My Search History and similar offerings by Ask Jeeves and

Google upped the ante this week by moving into 'display' advertising for the first time [WAMN: 26-4-05], joining Yahoo in offering animated ads to build up brand awareness.

Meanwhile, paid search advertising remains the fastest growing sector online. Jupiter Research recently estimated it will grow from $2.6 billion (€2bn, £1.36bn) in 2004 to $5.5 billion by 2009.

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff