Tag Archives: yahoo

Yahoo! New Look on Mobile

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer announced the new Yahoo! welcome page yesterday (this may jump to other page based on your locale setting).

To understand the change this time, let’s look at it from the good old days of the Yahoo! Directory age.

From top left we have the first directory created by Jerry and Dave, and then later on became the most familiar page of my year (I still remember how I tried to submit my little GeoCities page page onto the Yahoo! directory), and then evolved into the maze-like landscape full of landmines (ad banners). It was so unusable, because we simply don’t want to start from what Yahoo! wants to tell us anymore, but rather from what we want to seek from Yahoo!

And that’s when Google came in and crushed Yahoo!.

Yahoo_BeginningYahoo_OldYahoo_BeforeYahoo_Mobile

Imagine all these screens on mobile devices. They are either unreadable or are diverted to an uglier m.yahoo mobile site for some local adaptation, which sometimes is an even worse experience. Or, for the US main site, they simply forward the traffic to the App download page (as shown in the last image above), and that experience is not united and streamlined either.

For this reason, I haven’t come in to Yahoo! page for a long time. Not just because I simply can’t find anything from that massive page anymore, but also because I don’t even start from that directory.  To be honest, Google.com is not my Homepage either, because I simply don’t start from any page any longer. All I do now is start (desktop or mobile/tablet ~ which is more than half of the time) with a search term at the Chrome bar and land on the search results directly, or click on referral links from emails, Facebook links or Tweets.

Yahoo_New

With this angle, I understand the rationale behind the Yahoo! repaint of their Welcome Page. It is not a big upgrade, but it fundamentally changes a few crucial items:

  1. It focuses very much on the newsfeed as the core real estate space and search, prominent search bar at the top . News and Search are the two main reasons that  users visit Yahoo! So now they cut the clutter and make it a bit more obvious to deliver on this objective upfront, and that’s great!
  2. Since Mobile and Tablet access will soon (or has already, at least for me) surpassed desktop access, their Responsive Design rather than a stripped down version of the m.yahoo site is the way to go, and that’s great too.
  3. They allow users to login with their Facebook ID or Yahoo account. Yahoo! is never in the Social space, and it makes sense to “outsource” this effort to the greatest social platform.

I still don’t have a winning verdict on Yahoo! and Mayer, but looking at how they are addressing mobile use  (news can be read on full-featured www.yahoo.com on Smartphone rather than a stripped down m.yahoo version), I am looking forward to seeing the next outcome of this continuous improvement initiative.

Bye Bye Geocities!!

今天(再次)收到 Yahoo! 來郵,呼籲我早點執拾 GeoCities 戶口上的遺物:

Important notice: GeoCities is closing.

Dear Yahoo! GeoCities customer,

We’re writing to let you know that Yahoo! GeoCities, our free web site building service and community, is closing on October 26, 2009.

On October 26, 2009, your GeoCities site will no longer appear on the Web, and you will no longer be able to access your GeoCities account and files.

甚麼是 GeoCities? 哈哈!你有否見過那些走馬燈?animated gif?永遠在鋤地的 “Under Construction” 牌子?跳字 counter?閃閃令的 “update” logo?上下左右都是 frames?Geocities 就是那個時代 free web hosting 的供應商(在那個遠古時代,我還在用 Netscape 2.0/3.0)。免費,因為靠廣告。全盛時期我所認識的所有朋友的私人網站都用它!

之後 Yahoo! 收購了它,以為可以大大進步,但礙於這實在太 Web1.0,吸引不了人來交流,更新又不方便(下下都要 ftp!),而且那時 SEO 又未完善(只靠在 Yahoo! directory 和 Timway.com 登錄),完全沒有誘因維持下去。

因為這個原因,這 Geocities 戶口已被我丟棄成為廢墟多年(last update ~ Nov 21, 2000!)。後來開始寫 blog,也是從零開始,沒有將這些舊物過戶。畢竟這些都是不同年代的東西嘛!也曾想過自辟一角作「博物館」將這些史料存放,不過我又不是自建部落於公海,存不了這些外來檔,故此便不了了之。現在到 Yahoo! 真的要封釘拆樓,我也是時候將那世界截圖封存下來,作個紀念。

下面這個黑mongmong的是我第一期的網站,改過幾次版。左上角的是 animated gif 做的煙花(勁土氣!),也有自己拍的夜景做版頭和那「永遠在鋤地的 “Under Construction” 牌子」(要知道,那時未有 Web2.0,大家以為 website 是 static 的,要不斷更新,是因為「未整好」!),還有最早期蘋果網上版那正方形的 logo!這網站維持到九七年四月,大學 final year 功課開始忙,一丟下,就再提不起勁再去更新了(反正從來也只得自己一個人看,為何要這樣複雜將料子 ftp 上公海呢?)。

到了二千年再讀書,有一科教 Internet Programming,功課要求大家起一個網站。我便將我這個廢墟再版重光。有每日通訊,有 Resume,有 Guestbook,更有網上遊戲(全都是功課要求的)。設計進步了不少,但仍很 1.0,仍是拍烏蠅,而且 update 仍舊很不 user friendly。結果,這段「重光」只是「迴光反照」,學期完結後又再次被我遺棄,直至現在。

看到這裡,我突然在想:會不會終有一天,我又會丟下這個 blog,然後若干歲月後再來憑吊一番呢?唔…… 看來這個機會微一點,因為這裡的內容多而有價值千百倍啊!而且就算這系統(mysinablog)死了,這些內容總可以用第二版形式重生吧?(不過要記緊做備份哇!)

Inbox 2.0

繼 Google 宣佈推出其 Open Social 來「對付」Social Networks 網站 Facebook 和 MySpace 後,Yahoo 也不甘後人宣佈了發展 Inbox2.0 的大計

甚麼是 Inbox2.0?目標並不是要 inbox 的介面更好用,而是要將 inbox 變得更 social、更 Web2.0。

現時 MySpace 和 Facebook 都已各自有近億個用戶,Yahoo 和 Google 要由零開始去發展一個可以和他們比拼的 social network site 會有點難度。但根據 Techcrunch 報導,Yahoo 和 MSN Hotmail 現時仍是 email services 的一哥和二哥,各自坐擁二億以上的用戶。第三和第四位的 AOL 和 GMail 也有幾千萬。單憑用戶數量來計,其實他們各自都可與 MySpace 和 Facebook 社群人口匹敵。亦所以誘使 Yahoo 產生這「就手」的念頭。

Yahoo 的發言人說他們的大計包括將 inbox 內的文章根據 sender 和你的 network 深度來排序。而且在郵箱設定上亦可以加進很多個人資料,而且也會讓用戶在 MyYahoo 加進更多新奇的 widgets,總之務求做到與 Facebook 「人有我有」的境界。

這個概念會不會成功仍是一個未知之數,但肯定的是幾個 email provider 的改進甚至改革都是在所難免,因為愈來愈多人已選擇直接用 social network 網站的溝通功能來與朋友溝通,rather than 再用 email 或 IM。

例如隨著 social networking 的普及,在英國每天到 online email service website 的人次已於上月首次被 MySpace 和 Facebook 之類的 social network site 的遊客人數超越。我也試過選擇在 Facebook 上的 message 或 wall 來留言而不直接發電郵或 MSN 給朋友,甚至有很多 Facebook 上的舊或新朋友都未(亦不用)交換 email address!~ 而結果朋友們在 Facebook 的 response time 的確比正常覆 email 甚至 MSN 快!似乎各 email provider 真的要加把勁了!

不過,說到尾,用 email 來做 social networking 雖然就手,但卻有很多問題,如私隱,spam 等。大家每天都收到不少「偉哥」和「非洲王子」的來信,但不等如你會想和他們做朋友吧?

大家有沒有同感呢?請留言告訴我!


Sources:

Graphs from Hitwise Intelligence
Bits.blogs.nytimes.com
www.techcrunch.com
Open Social