Whenever someone at Yahoo! makes headlines for something or the other, people are always quick to start the Yahoo! bashing. Although we don’t think Yahoo! is the coolest company out there either, they’re certainly not another AOL as people love to imply. Yahoo!, like any other company/corporation/media-giant out there does some things right, some things wrong, and beats the hell out of the competition in other areas; but for some reason, people tend to forget.
Yahoo!’s biggest obstacle to success and popularity today is that despite all of it’s Web 2.0 efforts (like an extremely-hyped WordPress Blog, Web 2.0 AJAX toolkits, a re-designed email interface, etc., etc.), it remains associated with “old” in the minds of many geeks today. That’s not necessarily true, and as you will see from some of the points below, the only archaic thing left at Yahoo! is the Management.
Without further ado, the list in increasing order of “perfection:“
- Yahoo! Answers
Just recently, Google Answers closed up shop. No explicit reasons were given, but obviously it was a flop. Besides the terrible 1980s interface and lack of community-feel to it (it was more like a business), it just wasn’t popular enough. The reason is that Yahoo! Answers did a hell of a lot better. Plus it’s free.
Although the answers model differs completely between the two, in the end it was ask a question, get an answer. Yahoo! Answers is accessible via a much more user-friendly interface, and it actually has an active user community to keep it going – the most important ingredient in any Web 2.0 site today.
- APIs for Programmers
Yahoo!’s extensive API library and various odds and ends for programmers and coders is second to none – except Microsoft’s, but that’s different.1 The point is, Yahoo! reaches out to the developers much more than any other corporate monstrosity out there today. From simple spelling-correction APIs to tag-suggestion modules, from AJAX libraries to sample files and support, you can’t beat Yahoo! when it comes to developer-support.
Still not convinced? Surely you’ve heard of the Prototype (TM) library, used in virtually every big Web 2.0 package out there? Let’s just say Yahoo!’s framework rips it to shreds.
- Yahoo Mail
Yahoo’s email may be the least “dramatic” of the big three right now (Gmail, Live Mail, and itself), but it’s nothing to slight at. The newly re-designed Yahoo Mail is just as slick, but it’s Yahoo! Unlike Gmail, that doesn’t mean it’s cool and totally Web 2.0, but that it’s reliable, extensive, and always on. Whereas Live Mail’s interface is iffy and slow, Yahoo! just has slow & under-powered servers, but the script itself is excellent. Gmail takes hours to initialize the first load, Yahoo! doesn’t. Most importantly, Yahoo!’s email is built on years of rock-solid reliability, and has the very best spam control from all three!
It’s always on, loads fast enough, doesn’t require a bleeding-edge browser, is as close to spam-free webmail as you can get. What more can you ask from a webmail service??2
No, that’s not a typo. Yahoo.com isn’t the number 1 most visited web page in the world for nothing. “Web 2.0” start-up pages with customized RSS feeds and widgets and stuff3 may be great at first, but it’s nice to have all the content Yahoo! gives you all at one go. And unlike MSN.com, Yahoo.com uses a much more straight-forward approach with slightly nicer (more down-to-earth) aesthetics. Sure, it’s not as flashy; but remember, flashy isn’t always good.
Yahoo.com’s homepage gives you what you need to know, and a bit of what you don’t. It has interesting stories (like MSN in that sense), and no ads. No wonder it’s number 1.
- We lied.
Yep. There’s only 4 things Yahoo! does best, that’s probably why no one likes them! (Kidding!) As a matter of fact, there’s one more thing, it’s just not that big of a deal. More information on this later.
So if Yahoo does all these things and does them this well, why aren’t their stocks reflecting it? More importantly, why aren’t the people (read: geeks) satisfied? Read on.