If you can't ace the exam, you may as well cheat off the star pupil. Stock Advisor pick Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) is finally embracing the "universal search" format for its engine, following Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and IAC/InterActiveCorp's (NASDAQ:IACI) Ask.com in showing a collection of news stories, images, and video clips to go along with the conventional search query results.

Now, before you blast Yahoo! for being a copycat, it's important to note that it will be bringing some of its star subsidiaries into the mix. In other words, results pages may come back with snapshots from Flickr, Upcoming.com's event calendar, and even a little Q&A community action from Yahoo! Answers.

Is Yahoo! late to the game? Not necessarily. Ask.com was the portal that kicked off the eye candy with things like webpage thumbnails on its search pages, while Microsoft's Live upped the ante in its image search results by allowing users to resize the thumbnails. The reward for innovation? It wasn't gains in market share, that's for sure.

However, now that Google is loading up its search results with things like current YouTube videos, Yahoo! has little choice but to follow the leader. "Follow the leader" may be a game for toddlers at the playground, but it's a game of survival for the search-engine stars.

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Yahoo! is a Stock Advisor recommendation. Microsoft is an Inside Value pick. Find out why with free 30-day subscription offers to either newsletter.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of Yahoo!, and he's cheering on its Web 2.0 comeback. For now, he does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.