Salim showed us around Yahoo! Brickhouse and also Yahoo!’s HQ in Sunnyvale (We couldn’t find Buffy anywhere) during Paddy’s Valley and the overall impression I got and I think others got too was that Yahoo! is a people company. They like people more and seem to understand them more than their competitors. When you think of Google, you think of them trying to remove people from every process and replacing them with an algorithm but with Yahoo! they seem to acquire companies and let them be, let them work the way they always work and help them where they can. Delicious and Flickr are fine examples. Owned by Yahoo! though we never really are forced to acknowledge this.
There’s been a lot of change in Yahoo! in the past few months with Jerry Yang coming back in and changing things around and a lot of dead wood has been removed. John Furrier thinks something is big on the way and Techcrunch reported that there could be a cull of 20% on the way. Google however is still giving us the best search experience around and their ad system (which I think is getting worse, not better) is still the best out there. According to the FT blog, the ad revenue generated from Google last quarter was more than Yahoo!, AOL and Microsoft’s ad revenue combined yet Yahoo! properties get more traffic.
Yahoo! to me is the warmer, more friendly, tech company compared to Microsoft and much warmer than the entirely sterile Google. It would make sense to me for Yahoo! to work on all their sites and services that are very people centric. Yahoo! Answers shows how good they can be. There seems to be talk coming out of Yahoo! about them opening up their services. It would be great to see APIs for everything they have and allow people to create clever Mashups and of course give them an option of selling ads on these new services or if these services charge then have Yahoo! work as the merchant for the transactions. John Furrier also thinks they should join Open Social. They should be doing something on the social side and not letting Facebook et al get all the attention. Of all companies and with their mixed bag of offerings, they could do very well on the social side, either by opening up all their services so any social network can tie into them or create a platform for all their services. It seems odd that they are not there yet.
I have a fondness for Yahoo! as when I started surfing the net, they were the kings and it would be nice to see them make some kind of comeback while making the web better for me to traverse. There needs to be competition in the search space and in the ad space, maybe Yahoo! can get things sorted and compete in there.