Turn Google's strengths into weaknesses by opening up all of Yahoo's products (Search, Mail, Finance, Maps, Sports, News) to developers to be maximally programmable. Allow developers to monetize in any way they feel like (aside from fraud) and let them link together apps in creative mashups. This links together YQL, Yahoo Pipes, YUI, BOSS, and several other existing Yahoo technologies into Yahoo as the platform for the Open Web.
If Marissa wanted to really push hard on this: buy Blekko, take a big stake in Github, buy Mozilla, and possibly buy Meteor and/or DerbyJS. That gives you a tech stack which is pretty strong in search, best of class among developers, pretty strong in browsers, and the future of web development. Then let developers knit the pieces together and give them contractual terms which stipulate you won't go up the stack at them like Facebook, Apple, and Twitter did if their apps are successful.
Basically, if Apple represents ultimate centralization and Google is somewhat open, turn Yahoo into the ultra open, monetizable platform for the web. They have the traffic, they could make this a very attractive proposition for developers.
This sounds great, in a handwavy way. In practice though I'd like to hear specifics about what Yahoo could/would offer that Google doesn't already?
Maps: Seriously? I'm not even going to bother linking to the Google Maps API
Google doesn't have great developer stories in Finance, Sports or News. I guess there are some opportunities there, but exactly what they are isn't obvious.
Anyway, isn't this whole strategy what Yahoo tried in the 2006-09 timeframe? It failed then (mostly by failing to bring in revenue) - why would it be different now?
There is a reason many have transitioned to OSM based data and tile hosting services: price. The Google Maps API is no longer the "no-brainer" that it once was among developers.
And generally speaking, I don't think competing on price is a great strategy for turning the company around. The OSM map services will have a big price advantage because all of their data is free, even though it's not as good as Google's. And if Yahoo enhances the data, or gets their own data and tries to charge a premium, then they're back to where they are now trying to compete with Google...
I'm not saying they can't make a better service for cheaper, but their focus should be on making a great map service, not on cutting the price.
0) Embed apps on the frontend: The APIs you mention are good, but they are backend APIs or APIs for customizing (say) maps within a widget on your site. I'm talking about opening up the frontend too. A prosaic way of thinking about it is an App Store for each large Yahoo subdomain, starting with search.yahoo.com but ultimately allowing very deep apps that pull from many Yahoo properties. Importantly, app installation buttons should be heavily but tastefully promoted: every relevant URL, map result, or email from an app provider should allow a one-click install with ID and billing optionally from Yahoo.
1) Concrete example: suppose Yahoo allowed website proprietors to embed a widget to the right of search results that linked to them. The widget would display if it met the performance and load requirements of Yahoo Search, and not if it didn't. Given that Yahoo is now powered by Bing, this could be a Windows Phone tile sort of thing. Visualize a minified version of what you'd click on the website to see. Facebook could show your last 5 messages, Mint your last few payments, and so on. Basically, take microformats to the next level and allow site proprietors to create their own onebox experiences.
2) Data: In addition to opening up apps, take every piece of data that Google never made open for fear of giving away a proprietary advantage and throw open the doors with an aggressively priced data.yahoo.com API, both to monetize and to differentiate against Google.
3) Re: Yahoo's open stuff in the 2006-2009 timeframe -- that was grassroots and built by engineers, never really pushed by their leadership as the future.
4) The Y Prizes: One other thought is that if this open strategy works, Yahoo could announce an acquisition tournament for each hot new closed web property. All the Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Quora, and Pinterest clones would register for a three month competition to build an API to Yahoo's spec, with the winner being acquired for a fixed up front cost of say $10M. Cheap for Yahoo, life changing for the 5 man dev teams that would arise for a shot at this prize. These Y Prizes would allow Yahoo to stay ahead of the curve on new stuff without trying to do everything themselves.
5) Moral high ground: Yahoo as the platform for the Open Web would give them the moral high ground and goodwill to pick (and win) a bunch of fights. Always punch up.
Read that GMail API again - it is designed to do exactly what you are proposing. The section you need to read is https://developers.google.com/google-apps/gmail/#gadgets
Both Yahoo & Google tried this previously with OpenSocial. It bombed badly.
Moreover Gmail Gadgets are not heavily promoted nor a profit center for Google, so they are an afterthought. As indirect proof of this, when pg had that recent thread on fixing email, had the Gmail API (+ Gadgets) been a strong API for working with email, people would have brought that up as the obvious solution.
As for OpenSocial, that seemed to me to be big companies banding against Facebook, not actually opening up the web. But we can agree to disagree here.
Whatever it may be, I'd prefer if Yahoo stays away. I'm against it enough that I would move my paid GitHub account to BitBucket.
I understand they're trying to change their reputation, but I still remember how they killed Delicious and see how they've let Flickr bit rot.
Let them practice not killing the software they buy before they buy another service I use.
Now I use pinboard, and I mostly like it.
I actually like Firefox, so please, leave it alone.
Mozilla and Yahoo would make a good strategy, considering Google/Mozilla relationship has cooled in recent years.
I like your Github/Meteor suggestion as well, albeit unlikely that either of those companies would take money or influence from Yahoo.
Also don't think Marissa Mayer has the vision for these sort of changes, although hope I'm wrong on this.
The point was more about mindshare and not just tech.
"X has an image problem." where X can be any tech from an uncool company, even if it is fundamentally decent.
It is a real phenomenon, but just hard to access empirical quantified data at the moment.
As a quick measure I use things like Google Insights, compete.com, Github presence / stats etc.
The for-profit Mozilla Corporation only exists for tax purposes, and is wholly owned and controlled by the non-profit Mozilla Foundation.
Seriously, food is a big deal, someone at my orientation asked a VP why we didn't get free food. She answered by explaining that the only people who liked the free food were the employees, and that share holders didn't like the free food, and that we work for the shareholders. With that everyone clapped. I remembered at the time that free food sounded good, especially because I was about the become a Yahoo employee.
So, I hope this is like the Canary in the coal mine, but in reverse.
The shareholders probably didn't like her salary either, did it get cut?
employees work for the company. every company has a goal. employees work (hard) to push the company to reach that goal. shareholders invest in that goal. it's the goal that matters, not the shareholders monetary desires.
said that, i dont know if Y! has any goals.
It has bought her time with the engineers while she decides what to do.
> But the point is that great engineers DON'T fight, they just move on. They aren't in the business of fixing companies, so they feel that anything that gets in the way of them creating is a huge waste of their time
i've definitely seen companies where management expected individual engineers to come forward and "fight for their rights" if they had a problem - if bob was slightly more willing to address things and noted that tom, dick and harry were unhappy with the new changes, the response would be "well, then, why haven't i heard anything from them about it?", and bob would thereafter be seen as a bit of a troublemaker. mind you, no one thought that tom, dick and harry were happy, just that they were undoubtedly willing to believe what the ceo said about "everyone having to make sacrifices" if someone like bob didn't come along and stir things up.
When I started at mindspring as a startup (a dial up company) there were some very interesting rules.
1. Drug testing policy. If you have drugs we will test them.
Classic stuff. That's the kind of culture I want to build at Fogbeam Labs when we get to the point of having employees. I like to say "let's be the Mötley Crüe of software companies." Hard partying, hard fighting, and ass kicking, that's the stuff we're going for - well, along with great software, world-class UX, and better integration of enterprise software than you can get anywhere else.
Right now Yahoo! isn't remarkably good at anything.
Yup, that's the issue. I actually tried Bing on a search this week - I was pretty surprised to see it returned better results, faster, than Google. But I still use Google like everyone else. Google owns that market, like Microsoft owns the desktop.
> They need some kind of breakout product
I hope Marissa already had a plan for what that would be before starting. Without such a product, I doubt Yahoo will survive.
There needs to be a revitalization of the Yahoo staff if there is to be any success.
Then you take those thousands of reinspirired/invigorated people and point them at a problem.
Finding the right problem though is, well, the problem.
Personally, I have said several times here on HN that Yahoo should take YCombinator as their new directional model.
They should be seeking to foster startups in the valley VERY aggressively. Invest, incubate, incorporate.
Take the growth of the startup communities and incorporate their innovations into the Yahoo brand...
Tick tock, tick-tock.
If Yahoo wants to compete for talent against the SF startups, facebook, google, etc. It seems like this isn't googley, its just part of the modern benefit package.
Talent won't be attracted by free food, but what it will do is cause the morale to change. People already working there will start getting excited about these new changes. Things become a little more fun. When your employees have a higher morale, they feel better about working harder, and they become more proud about what they're working on.
The new all-hands meetings will be key in that strategy. A good CEO and a great CEO can tell you the vision of the company and why it will succeed. But only a great CEO can make his or her employees feel inspired to do better work after those talks.
The first signs that Yahoo is turning around will be seen on the streets of San Francisco and Sunnyvale. When yahoo hoodies and tshirts are being displayed as frequently as you see Google of Facebook swag, if the employees start showing they are _really_ proud of the company they work for, that will signal the earliest changes in Yahoo.
She needs people who want to work long hours, and/or weekends. That kind of work ethic doesn't come from handouts, it comes from inspiring people around you to build something really awesome.
it's about cutting the crap, getting rid of balast and setting the right priorities, not about "long hours".
The thing is, for that to be successful you will never be asked directly to work long hours. If you've never experienced that, it's impossible for me to explain it to you. It's just a desire you get when you work around really talented people who are equally dedicated.
sometimes long hours are necessary, 95% of the time they aren't.
working 60 hour or more is a problem, never a solution. constantly working long hours leads to lousy decisions and to a lack of priorities (and a lack of priorities are the reason for another round of long hours).
one of the best CTOs i ever worked for was confronted with a lot of friday evening major releases, which more often than not lead to him loosing his weekends. he created a new policy that the last release would be thursday morning. code quality, bug occurrences an work/life balance improved significantly.
It's all about being appreciated, acknowledged and respected.
Yahoo was known for collating links, while Google had a killer algorithm.
But Google's drive to make the algorithm work all the time for everybody is causing some discontent. Power users are disappointed at (for example) the loss of +, and don't like the weird word substitutions and stemming that Google has introduced. And naive users are confused by overwhelming choice. They don't know the difference between the various sponsored links; they have no idea what a domain is so they aren't going to know if they're going to a trustworthy site or to scumbags.
Imagine how nice it would be if you entered your programming specific terms into a search engine and got carefully selected links back.
I don't know if free food is going to get that, but it's worth a try.
EDIT: I've just visited the Yahoo page for the first time in many years. It is laughably hideous. Sorry for any Yahooers, but this version is even uglier than the 199x page (black on silver?).
That said, if I was working at one of Yahoo's remote offices, I'd feel pretty left out of the free food / etc. Do HQ Engineers work any harder than the others?)
Yahoo already uses Bing.
The top zero click result is from other sources on the web (disclosure the last one comes from my site).
The only search engine I have found which gets close to this is VerticalSet although with the new Bing pricing I am not sure how long it will exist for now.
Yahoo! had a great search engine to begin with. There wasn't anything wrong with it, really. I think Yahoo! just got a bit carried away with the UI aspect of it.
DDG prides itself on privacy and no tracking while giving good results. I don't think Yahoo! would be interested in keeping that tradition.
Though, I could be wrong, of course.
edit: was supposed to reply to the other guy... oops.. message still stands.
That just gets farmed out to google ;)
The Internet has become too big for a Table of Contents to make any sense anymore.
There is a reason why directories died and search took their place. Directories, in the form we know them, do not scale. There are far more people who would work to fill them with junk than there are people who would work to create order from chaos.
And then there's the question of how you remain objective.
And isn't Wikipedia really the answer to what you want? If you want a directory of ... well, not the Internet, but at least of our knowledge? It may not primarily be a link farm, but it usually provides a good starting point for most topics.
It is right here: http://www.dmoz.org/ and unfortunately it is a ghetto.
Wikipedia might not work as a direct replacement for directory services, but when it comes to helping you acquire knowledge, I think it does a better job. Even when the articles you find are sparse because they might help you formulate better queries to stuff into The Google.
- That little "Make Yahoo! your homepage" thing that slides down and moves the rest of the content with it has got to go (especially considering there's a "Make Y! your homepage" link RIGHT below it).
- Clicking on the dot in the exclamation point still does the "Yahoo!" jingle, which is nice, but I don't like the new jingle. It's too polished. Old one was better.
- The actual search bar is a bit heavy and "2005 Web 2.0" looking, but I suppose it needs to be a little chunky to stand out from everything else on the page (and there's a lot).
- Overall, I like the color scheme and design, but it still feels a bit "heavy". The fact that there's SO MUCH STUFF on the front page suggests that this real estate is a design-by-committee thing and that politics is heavily involved. There's so much stuff and it's packed so tightly together that I really can't decide what I want to look at.
- The Olympics banner is neat.
- The top news rotator is OK, but it's a little clumsy.
- The subsections, like Yahoo! News and Yahoo! TV, feel too different from each other and too different from the main site.
- Speaking of target audience, the "Trending Now" section is neat, but I'm not sure I like what it's saying. Between that, the "Must-See Videos on Yahoo!", and the "Most Popular" section below it, I get the feeling that I just stepped into a middle-class hair salon. I'm not trying to be elitist, it's just that this site really seems to scream "late 30-something suburbian white woman with a minivan" in a way that most other sites don't, so I don't feel very welcome here. Shouldn't the front page to one of the world's most recognized online brands start out a little more neutral and slowly BECOME about whatever it is you're usually interested in? ArsTechnica does a good job of this, building up a "Your Stories" section based on stuff you've clicked on an (presumably) how long you stuck around after you clicked.
- A little more nitpicky, but I think it's another indication of Yahoo!'s most prime real-estate being driven by corporate politics and ladder-climbing (because I'm going to give the page designer a benefit of the doubt): take a look at all the section headings. You have "YAHOO! SITES", "TRENDING NOW", "MUST-SEE VIDEOS ON YAHOO!", "MOST POPULAR", "POLL", "FAVORITES". There doesn't seem to be much consistency in the color or font size with these.
- So, yeah, "Favorites". How come I just NOW (within the last 30 seconds) found that? It's way below the fold of the sites list. Aren't my favorites kind of important? Shouldn't they be above "Yahoo! Sites"? And why are they already populated? Yahoo! on FB, Yahoo! on Twitter? How are those my favorites? I never told you I liked those... These are the kind of things that make it a little TOO obvious that I, humble visitor, am the product being sold.
- The bottom footer (no, not the real footer, the footer above that) seems redundant. "More Yahoo! Sites" contains only slightly different content than the "Yahoo! Site" area, and there's already a way from right there to see more. If you want to promote new or underperforming sub-sites, why not try a sites recommendation engine based on the stuff you've visited? Follow Yahoo could be placed elsewhere, and the "About Yahoo" stuff can certainly be combined and replace the "About our Ads" thing on the real footer.
- When performing an actual search, the results aren't too bad (they're powered by Bing, which isn't wonderful but it isn't terrible either). In fact, the search listings are a lot less cluttered than what Google's results have become.... it's almost refreshing.
A "neat this, neat that, not too bad" review of a Yahoo homepage even though it's the exact same kaka as it was two weeks ago. Who would've thought that getting a notable ex-Googler on board would have a such immediate effect on swaying geeks in a pro-Yahoo direction?
Of_Prometheus, you are hell-banned starting from this comment - http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4268365
Do one thing, do it well. You won't gain users doing several things poorly. Or in Yahoo's case, you will hemorrhage the users you once had.
I understand that large companies do have the resources to delve into many spheres and markets at once. I also grasp how each additional product/focus can leverage your brand recognition and existing userbase for alternative revenue streams. Even if only 10% of my users pay for [New Feature X], that's still money in the bank! At the same time, when I think of Yahoo, three things come to mind: Email, Search and Content (so-called).
The first two aren't anything Yahoo is the name for anymore and the last one is ludicrously expansive. News, fine. Original web series videos, eh, maybe? But look at the first three items on their list. Autos, Dating (?!) and Finance. Yes I know it's alphabetical, but it's a sign that they still think they can be "The Homepage of the Internet" or some such madness.
This may be the point where Yahoo has to get its hands out of some of those cookie jars and focus on doing less, better. Even if that means a shiny, new platform at the expense of current ones, and even if that means it's a little over-hyped. As long as they finally have one thing they can point at and say "THIS is what Yahoo does, because we do it better than anyone."
On the contrary, you, personally, are not Yahoo's stereotypical user. Yahoo absolutely should start out appealing to its primary demographic as that will hook the greatest number of new visitors, and you've just described the typical web user. That web user will feel much more at home on this default page than on Ars Technica's default page.
I agree with you that in time, the page should adapt, and preferably rapidly. The difference is the starting point which should be the same as the starting point in the grocery checkout lane. You also shop at the grocery, but the checkout lane isn't designed for you.
Last I checked, news on Yahoo was becoming a joke, in my opinion. This reflected across their entire site, and even more so in the quality of their comments. I hope Marissa Mayer changes this, I doubt that any aspiring web company wants to be known for this.
-No consistency across sites
-They censor a lot of the comments
-The comment system never works right
-The comment system constantly switches from facebook comments to yahoo comments.
-A lot of the services don't work right (like retrieving portfolio data). Sometime it works, other times it does not.
-They are really heavy on the ads
-They need a better video player. They are testing a new one...not sure if it is good or not. The old one uses a lot cpu 60%.
-The search sucks
-Too much Kardasians/Jersey Shore crap. They need better quality/fresh content.
-The Ymail needs catch up to Gmail/Hotmail. I mean no SSL when accessing mail?
1) REALLY need a way to graph "adjusted stock price" or "growth of $10,000" instead of just raw stock price. Otherwise, mutual fund graphs fall off a cliff every December due to payment of capital gains distributions and dividends (the drop is not economically meaningful and it makes it hard to compare to an index or other security). If you look at their "Historic Prices" page they have the data (called "Adj Close"), they just don't give you a way to graph it.
2) Since they started displaying real-time auto-updating stock prices recently, the percent change and dollar change are often out of sync (at least in my browser, Seamonkey). Sometimes, one is negative while the other is positive, so it's pretty obvious. I'm surprised the exchanges haven't slapped them silly for this (I believe you have to register with the exchanges if you are going to display their data to ensure that are competent enough to not display bad prices).
The last time I looked at Yahoo's mail, you had to pay to enable IMAP access. Even stranger, it wasn't a recurring fee, but just some one-time deal. Seems to have changed now, at least?
I always use Google for search, even in China where it sometimes plays up. Google got me first (after Altavista folded).
There's some of us who don't switch due to inertia, which are the types of customers many businesses, e.g. banks, make most of their money from.
I haven't been there for a long time, so I went there to follow your critique, and my first thought was WTF is all this? This is like a 90s site map, with pictures.
I read anywhere that pages in japan are supposed to be chock full, you don't want any white space. Incidentally Yahoo Japan is very popular (although it does have different management, yahoo US only have as minority stake in it). There could be types of users elsewhere in the world who want the same kind of thing
The way the logo is placed, it looks like an ad for another site.
The whole page is reminiscent of the adwords aggregation sites that grab the mis-typed domains of popular sites.
But of course I haven't been to AOL in forever either, maybe they've changed. So I checked them out too. Yep, can't tell the difference.
Do you seriously think if Google published Trending Now searches, it would be any different from Yahoo!? Or are you suggesting Yahoo! should editorialize?
What your flashblock is actually blocking is an easter egg where if you click on exclamation point, a sound plays that sings the Yahoo jingle.
I am not impressed.
Okay, I may not be the target visitor. But I think that my design aesthetic (minimalistic, simple, low-clutter) is not uncommon, even among non-geeks.
It's also good for Yahoo. It encourages employees to stay on campus for longer, so Yahoo gets more value out of them.
Also, Flickr is hiring -> http://flickr.com/jobs/
Try comparing http://search.yahoo.com/ with http://www.google.com/ , difference isn't as large.
Here's what I get:
curl -s http://www.google.com/ | wc
20 397 14433
curl -s http://search.yahoo.com/ | wc
1 363 12616
I also remember using the Yahoo fantasy sports thing and it seemed pretty good to me.
And to be honest the Yahoo mail program is really attractive looking to me and very functional.
Yahoo Groups is extremely useful also.
I guess however its hard to compete with things like gmail, reddit and meetup.com.
So anyway since half of the comments in this thread are basically going on a 'pretend you are the new CEO of Yahoo, what would you do' thing, I want to play also. Actually Yahoo has so much going on, its kind of hard to NOT want to play that game.
One thing to focus on making Yahoo Answers better. Maybe more ajaxy and realtime. Maybe make the app better (ask questions? voice input?). Maybe even do a deal with stackoverflow or something (although stackoverflow users might not appreciate that).
It seems like they have a ton of useful applications and other stuff. I forgot one: Yahoo Games. I guess the hard part is making money from all of those things. I think to figure out what to do I would need to know how much each of those different parts of Yahoo cost to operate and how much money comes in (mostly from ads I assume).
I guess one big issue is the brand. Ever since my old boss told me a few years back that Yahoo search was better, I associate Yahoo with idiots. And even though I do think Yahoo Answers is very useful like I mentioned before, the large number of retarded Yahoo Answers questions doesn't help with that idiot brand image problem.
One random idea: its really expensive to build Android, iOS (especially), HTML5, Windows, OSX and Linux apps. Especially if you want to target all of the above. Maybe they could throw some money at Apple and Microsoft and make an application platform with WYSIWYG components, a little bit along the lines of Wordpress, but everything is a widget, and somehow make it work across all of those platforms, and built on Node.js (or something). I say throw money at Microsoft and Apple because they are always (as far as I can tell) spending money on throwing up roadblocks to prevent good cross-platform solutions from becoming popular and practical.
One more random idea: I think the easiest way to compete as internet giant these days might be to create products that cross into the 'real' world. For example, the Google Project Glass project to me seems very exciting. So are things like 3d print-on-demand. Maybe Yahoo could build or promote a product/service along those lines?
Of course, those product/service ideas are extremely expensive, challenging and risky, so I dunno.
Other random idea: try to merge with one of the giant evil cable or media companies, such as Time Warner, if the government will let them. Then maybe if the CEO and people are persuasive enough to the Time Warner execs with all of the Yahoo customer numbers (like 700 million visitors per month), we could finally get HBO GO without having to buy cable. I mean I am not trying to make more gianter evil companies, but.. HBO GO without a cable subscription.
Other random idea: start converting to mainly telecommute by telling most people they can work from home and then eventually shutting down campuses. Use that as a selling point for acquiring talent and also a way to save money.
OK last last random idea: find a way to defeat ad block. Which would probably involve advertisements that actually weren't really advertisements somehow. Maybe something like reddit, or reddit+twitter+facebook, a way for people to recommend/vote up/review/rate products/services or apps, possibly filtered based on the relevance of the current page.. then maybe you just charge all of the advertisers a small fee to be eligible and don't let any of them pay more, so its entirely driven by consumers rather than the amounts companies are willing to pay.
Anyway that was fun.
I don't understand this sentence. Is her phone more likely to ring because she's in Israel, or something?
Saturday night, which is when the 9th of Av actually started, most (but not all) things were closed, but Sunday everything is open again, especially businesses.
Jewish Holidays go by the Hebrew Calendar, which counts days from Night to Night, not from Sunrise to Sunrise. So when the regular calendar says that the 9th of Av is on Sunday, the actual holiday is the evening of Saturday, then Sunday 'til evening.