The new Alpha search engine is based on the concept of Federated Search where users can very easily find files on the Internet. The Federated Search concept is used by the Internet portals that are based on numerous databases which are used to display the information. The Federated Search technology is used to link two or more databases and return information from all of them according to the search query entered by the user.
“Alpha is a new beta product from Yahoo! that introduces the concept of Federated Search. With Alpha, you can search across many different search indices all on one page. Also, if you have a Yahoo! ID, you can log in to personalize your experience by moving the search sources around to suit you, or adding completely new ones of your own,” Yahoo said in the description of the product.
According to the giant portal, the new search engine uses the OpenSearch technology that allows the product to collect information from any other location configured by the user. Alpha is currently accessible with a Yahoo account and is able to receive news through OpenSearch RSS technology.
As far I can see, Alpha represents a test technology able to reveal all the new features meant to be included in Yahoo Search - very similar to Searchmash owned by Google.