I guess there's something that human editors (which Yahoo still uses for its news page) can do better than machines for now. At least, to me.
I also use my.yahoo.com, I still like it more than google's iGoogle. Especially as I don't want the overhead of loading iGoogle every time I hit google.com, where I just want to search.
Yeah, flickr, too, although sooner or later I'm going to get around to putting up my own gallery thing for my pictures. I'm paying for hosting anyway, might as well use it.
The funny thing is while coding that stuff the bigger problems were financial and the enormous amount of cruft that is the web. The actual search engine wasn't that hard at all.
But I think that once you have enough customers the cost of 'crawling' goes down for every new customer you sign up because you only need to crawl a page once and you can sell the crawled result to many customers. Or do I misread your model and is every page crawled over and over again for every user ?
Could you define "good"?)
Of course my broker supplies all that data and more, but they don't understand the complexities of corporate firewalls and http tunneling. Not to mention information stovepiping -- you know, one page for news, a separate page for quotes, another page for charts ... Yahoo integrates all that for free.
So, from a tech standpoint, Yahoo! isn't very exciting. They're still the same old portal website from the 90's. But for the average guy, Yahoo! still gives him what he needs, when he needs it. Non-tech people don't like to hop from one place to another.
I haven't been to any of Yahoo!'s services for over an year now, but that doesn't mean they're irrelevant.
Yahoo pump out loads of tech stuff all the time - YUI, Hadoop, YSlow, YUI Compressor are all hugely respected and popular tools. They've write articles and published research that are almost definitive references for things like web site optimization. They have a boat load of web service APIs that are used all over the place and some of them are very innovative. It's worth just browsing around http://developer.yahoo.com/ to see all the stuff they have going.
(No, I don't work for Yahoo or have any association.)
Yahoo is one of the largest collection of professional web developers, and they take that seriously. Of course, their money is in Average Joe offerings like News and Frontpage.
I do work for them, and for a developer offering team too boot, so this is quite biased, of course ;)
(From the guidelines: "Please submit the original source. If a blog post reports on something they found on another site, submit the latter." )
But then this really leapt out at me:
"Yahoo News is the No. 1 news and information site in the country, with more than 50 million monthly unique readers,
ahead of The New York Times network’s 45 million."
Wow, that says as much about The New York Times as it does about Yahoo News. Does the broad readership of the NYT surprise anyone else?
The New York Times certainly was big 15 years ago and by some measures, the number one paper by reputation, but no where near this big. A few things that made me really surprised at 45 million:
1) Like all the other newspapers, it suddenly needs a new business model. Isn't everyone going to blogs, aggregators, and their niche sources for their news? I know part of this is the inability to monetize the online readership in the same way as their traditional readership, but still.
2) NYT is written at a fairly sophisticated level and its liberal slant doesn't really appeal to a lot of people. Its understandable obsession with its hometown, New York City, both draws, but also repels a lot of people.
3) Hey, what 'bout CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, etc? Those seem much more generally appealing than the NYT.
About half the country has voted Democrat in the last three Presidential elections. The Congress is now >50% Democrat as well.
Conservative voices are just the loudest and most annoying.
But Yahoo thinks they are a "media company" because they sell banners on Yahoo! Mail (...). And, frankly, I don't see them meeting the changing media needs...