Google’s done it, Facebook’s done it, even Nokia did it so why wouldn’t Yahoo!? Well, now they have come up with yet another social networking idea, this time dubbed Yahoo! Life! and an improved mobile service. Where has the innovation, the spark of ingenuity that once was Yahoo! gone?
This re-launched Go mobile platform from Yahoo! will open the doors to third-party application developers, just like Google’s Android project does. Yahoo! Go is relatively popular… quite a few users have actually downloaded the software onto their mobile phones. Other developers don’t need to convince users to do the same with their applications as well; they can just piggy-back on the Yahoo! platform now.
Go 3.0 itself offers some impressive improvements, in the form of a more personalised homepage and an “upgraded user-interface”. The improvements make the entire user experience more conducive to browsing the Internet, or at least the Yahoo! Go-related Internet from a mobile phone. Some of the nicer features we liked were:
- Smooth browsing through Flickr photographs
- Easy integration with Yahoo! Mail
- Quick, free access to local information including traffic and weather
Yahoo! has also been busy developing what it likes to believe will be the next generation of web services, within a social setting. The CEO of the company, Jerry Yang personally attended CES 2008, where he demonstrated a new service that he called “Life with an exclamation point”, which aims to integrate different applications such as email, structured data, tags and other information in a social context and thus help users in multiple facets of their life through advanced technology.
This interface too will be open to third party application integration. Like Facebook, the new service’s homepage will also highlight relevant updates from various connections instead of just showing an inbox. Dan Farber at ZDNet has details and screenshots of the demo system.
As TechCrunch have noted, similar such platforms and strategies have been adopted in the past by the likes of Microsoft, Google and Facebook. It remains to be seen whether Yahoo! Life!, which sounds eerily similar to Microsoft Live, will really provide anything new or if it will turn out to be just another copy of the same old platforms.
Yahoo! hope the two new offerings will enable their customers to use the Web more productively and more easily. However it will take a while for the complete new social package to be available due to security concerns, which must be addressed first. They expect to see some form of the platform during the year, but full functionality might not be available in 2008.
One hopes that these latest innovations will help to restore Yahoo! to its earlier place of pride vis-Ã -vis the internet, considering the fact that they used to be the stars of the Internet before Google came and rained on their parade. Share prices of Yahoo! Inc. have taken a beating off late while those of their competitor, Google Inc; have risen significantly, often at Yahoo!’s expense.