Extend or Die, Yahoo!

Is it too late for Yahoo! to beat back the Google giant?

I contemplated this month whether or not I should comment on Microsoft’s mega-ginormous 44.6 billion dollar rejected bid for Yahoo!, but by that time, it would be very old news and no longer relevant. Unfortunately, that’s the downside of writing for a monthly print publication with a three-month lead time. Frankly, by the time you read this column, everyone else would have commented on it, so whatever little I could add would only be a futile attempt at being ostentatious.

Still, whether Yahoo is gobbled up by Microsoft or another company, or if Yahoo! continues to trundle along on its own, one thing is certain — it needs a major mojo injection. From a services perspective, Google has surpassed it in almost every respect. The core search engine capabilities aside, Google has made a tremendous effort to add indispensable hooks into our electronic lifestyle, whether it’s through GMail, Google Maps, Google Office, Google Calendar, Google Earth, Google Talk, Blogger, Google Feed Reader, Froogle, Picasa, and definitely not least of all, YouTube and Google Video.

This is not to say that Yahoo! doesn’t have some pretty damn good core services either, some of which I would argue are superior to Google’s, such as their Flickr photo-sharing service which is absolutely second to none. (Note, however, that Yahoo! bought Flickr, rather than inventing it…) I have more than 6,000 photos on Flickr for my food blog, Off The Broiler: but I use Google’s Picasa to do my photo edits, and I prefer GMail and Google Calendar to Yahoo’s offerings — although I know many people who are staunch supporters of Yahoo’s versions.

Yahoo’s news service is more sophisticated and personalized than Google’s, with its integrated video content feeds, which is why I have it set as my home page. Yahoo! Finance is also an extremely powerful tool if you do armchair investing. Google also has a Finance site, but it’s decidedly minimalist and its portfolio management tools aren’t as good.

However, Yahoo! has failed where Google has succeeded, by extending services to literally everywhere. It’s no secret why nearly every Apple iPhone commercial features Google Maps, Google Search and Youtube to showcase its capabilities, because these are services that are fundamental to our Internet lifestyle. While not as well advertised, Google also recently rolled out a comprehensive suite of programs for the Blackberry. Where are the equivalent service extenders on mobile devices from Yahoo? Sure, they have a Yahoo Mobile client for Blackberry, but it only supports Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Messenger. On iPhone, they have Search, Mail, Finance, and Weather. Compared to Google, it’s not even close.

Google’s support of open source doesn’t hurt, either. The three-year-old Summer of Code program, has produced cool applications, and also created a great deal of goodwill from the FOSS community, and this has spurred a lot of interest in hooking in and extending their published APIs in places like Web applications and blogging.

Case in point, Google Maps and its geolocation services are plugged into a lot of popular blog sites, like Slice, which uses Google’s API to create a “thumbtack map” of pizza parlors that it reviews over New York City, complete with integrated links to content on the SliceNY.com site.

The Google Maps API is also used by BlogSoop, a meta-index restaurant site that collects restaurant reviews by food bloggers, and displays a corresponding map location with every restaurant database entry. These are just two examples of where Google’s technology has been used, largely due to their “Open Kimono” policy of publishing their API’s and creating services that people want to use.

Is it too late for Yahoo! to beat back the Google giant? In a word, no. But they need to get on the Open Kimono cluetrain and do something pretty drastic to get their services extended all over the place. Perhaps they should consider heading Android off at the pass, and forming an alliance with Nokia and/or Motorola to produce a Y! Phone platform — an integrated Linux smartphone with camera, Wi-Fi and 3G data service that multimedia enabled and is hooked up to Flickr, Yahoo! Calendar, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Finance, and with an integrated Yahoo!-flavored Opera browser on steroids, with built-in VPN capabilities and plugins for corporate Exchange and Notes systems in addition to IMAP/POP3 capabilities in a native Yahoo! Mail client. Make the whole platform open source instead of Android’s proprietary OS, and you’ll start to see the geeks jump on it like crazy and porting code to other platforms as well. That’s the smartphone that everyone really wants, and it’s easily within their reach.

Comments on "Extend or Die, Yahoo!"


I would sign up for a Y! Phone platform in a heart beat.


Wow and I would say that yes Yahoo needs a major makeover as I use Google more than I use Yahoo.


Does anyone actually use Yahoo! ?


Apparently, though I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve visited Yahoo! proper in five years. Actually I can count it on two fingers. Once when I checked out Y! Pipes, which, while high on the whiz bang scale, didn’t do very much for me. And the other time was when I dumped OddPost after the Y! acquisition.

If they didn’t own Flickr I probably wouldn’t come near a thing they had a hand in.


I used to use Yahoo! mail as my mail client, but now all I get is spam. Their spam filter sucks rocks compared to Google Gmail’s. Wait, their whole email click suck rocks compare to Gmail.

Yahoo, while they were the darling of the late 90′s, I’m afraid has become a bit of a dinosaur. Hey it happens all the time, a young upstart company comes along and upsets the heavy hitters.


Yahoo mail is awful. Too much spam. Poor spam controls. I hardly ever use Yahoo for anything as I get way too many ads that gobble up bandwidth, along with popups, etc.


I think that if Microsoft is able to complete the buy-out of Yahoo that this could be a move that helps both Microsoft and Yahoo in the long run. Microsoft needs to extend its service offerings in a greater way into the on-line world and Yahoo needs the “mojo”. Yahoo has some good web-hosting services and other areas but is missing some of the pieces that Microsoft can add, and that has the money to do so.

This is an excellent article comparing Google and Yahoo.


Yeah, it would also provide Microsoft with a great case study of migrating tens of thoursands of FreeBSD servers to Windows and how great PHP will run in a .NET environment. ;-)


So mean! Why would you add the note that Yahoo bought Flickr, without mentioning that Google bought YouTube, Blogger or Picasa?!
Is it to point out that the only good thing that Yahoo offers today is an acquisition?


Looks like you are completely unaware of tools that yahoo provides for developers. Visit http://developer.yahoo.com/ and also http://pipes.yahoo.com


For all the comments, you didn’t think you would get off that easy talking about Yahoo. Gmail does have a couple features that Yahoo doesn’t, but the new Yahoo mail, which you probably haven’t tried, has full drag and drop support, full integration with YMessegner, which you know you use over whatever messenger Google has, and the new spam filter leaves me with zero spam. So before you bash, try the latest version of a product. And FYI, if you search for something on Yahoo or Google, it typically returns similar results. Search engines aren’t rocket science….


the latest products from Yahoo! are really nice like their mail. i can now send sms’s from the browser itself which is simply fantastic. and finance.yahoo.com is now my home page which is second to none in convenience and functionality. come on guys…….. Yahoo! is just dozing in its past victories and is set to wake up with a bang. Opened up the search API’s. the “Yahoo User Interface” is simply awesome. They are even testing Google ads in their search results.. I really foresee Yahoo! once again becoming the internet giant which i know it as in mid 90′s. wake up Yahoo! and show your worth :-)


The new Yahoo Mail and My Yahoo are awesome


Yahoo sucks. Primary reasoning is that there are obnoxious ads and other unwanted items all over even just the “basic” engine screen. Google is clean, doesn’t distract away from what you are trying to do. If I ever decide that things jumping around and ads playing or even just sitting there all over the place is a better way to go, I’ll change my homepage to Yahoo. Sure, its a powerful engine, and they offer a few nice tools, but who cares?

I will go as far as to mention that I explicitly and immediately boycott *any* web page that tries to push ads at me, regardless of the content I’m looking for. There’s always somebody else who has a ‘clean version’ of the same page where I dont have to sit and look at a bunch of crap I dont care about.

I realize that owning/leasing/renting/operating web sites and the associated hardware is not cheap (I should own stock in my power company for the cost of operating my machines alone!), and has to be payed for by something, but Google does it eloquently, not obnoxiously, and it obviously works very well for them.

Blah blah blah, I know…


I use MyYahoo for my homepage (one English, one Japanese). Google has nothing that compares. I get my news, weather, email updates, entertainment (comic strips of my choice), local movie listings, etcetera etcetera that google doesn’t offer.

The good thing about google is storage space and large email attachments. Plus google apps can be convenient, but who needs it when you have OpenOffice and PortableApps that you can use on other peoples’ Windows machines. If you are on any linux machine, you can bet that OpenOffice will be installed. I absolutely HATE google’s online email interface. Multiple replies to my emails show as one email. I can’t easily tell if I have replied to people or not. Ultimately, a very poor interface. (Aside: Try out GMX mail’s new beta interface. Sweet! You can fetch all your other email account mail in one spot, but it is really organized! A few wrinkles to iron out – it IS BETA after all – but all in all an excellent interface!!)

I also used Yahoo’s interface (Yahoo!Go) on WindowsMobile (until I returned the WinMobile phone because WinMobile sucks). The Yahoo!Go interface was really slick and easy to use, with nice features including integrated access to your own yahoo mail and calendar, plus an integrated maps function. Sweet! Again, Google can’t compare.

Also, most of you likely don’t know that Yahoo!Japan is Japan’s biggest search engine.

QUOTE: Yahoo Japan controls 64% of the market and Google controls 21% of the Japanese search engine market. (from webcreate.ga-pro.com 1/23/08)

Also, have you tried yahoo maps recently? Very sweet interface!!

Go Yahoo, Go!!!

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