Yahoo is trying to escape from Obscurity Land. I get that. Back in its day, it was the place to go to. (Before Google came along, that is.) After Google though, Yahoo simply didn’t keep up with the competition. Now that Marissa Mayer, a former Googler, has taken over though, she’s all about trying to bring Yahoo back from the brink of tech death. Unfortunately, that includes buying sites/talent and then promptly shutting them down. A recent prime example? Why, that would be the awesome ‘to-do’ manager Astrid. The service will be stopped in August. Why? Who the hell knows. But, as a (relatively new) fan of the service who quickly got hooked on it, I was incredibly dismayed.
And now, there’s rumors Yahoo will be acquiring Tumblr. Tumblr’s one of those sites where you can’t really quite define it in a sentence. It would almost take a book. It’s incredibly unique in the ‘micro-blogging’ world in that there’s a sense of freedom there that you can’t quite get anywhere else. I doubt Yahoo would simply shut it down like it has all the other sites recently, but certainly Tumblr would be forever changed. It would be Yahoo’s (what, 4th or 5th time now) chance to get into social media again.
Frankly though, I’m not sure if it’ll make it (yet again) this time if they change much of the freedom Tumblr provides.
Ultimately, Yahoo needs to not just catch up with competitors through buyouts and integration, it needs to become something totally different, too. It needs to give people something else they simply can’t get anywhere else. Tumblr, in-theory, does that, but only as it is with minimal changes.
I myself still have an active Yahoo account, so I checked up on it today. The mail, chat, calendar and contact integration is nice, frankly. (Even better than Google’s, in some respects.) But really, what else is there? Yahoo of course still has it’s landing page. (Which I no longer have a need for, frankly.) Sure, there’s Flickr, but again, I have no use for that since Facebook and Google+ have me covered there. Truth be told, I still can’t see using Yahoo for anything more than a backup email account. (That I check once every year, apparently.)
That’s not to say that I don’t see potential.
I admit I’m a Google fanboy. Yes, I still use Google+ daily. (Especially with the nice updates to their chat services!) One thing Google still seems to struggle with though, is integration. You’ve got all these awesome services, but there’s 10,000 windows for all of them. (Drive, Play, Google+, Maps, Calendar, Youtube, Gmail, Keep and the list goes on and on…) They’ve clearly been working on it, but it’s truly a hot mess sometimes.
Facebook is of course more integrated. However it too, is a hot sloppy mess. It’s funny in that while Google may not be as integrated, it’s easier to separate your differently online categories. Facebook, on the other hand, throws everything together yet there’s no clear direction as to how to go to different categories.
So, this goes out to Yahoo… Right now, there’s no one I’m aware of that integrates everything, yet clearly separates things just enough to give you good organization/navigation. If you could do that, you’d win, hands-down.
But, let’s be honest. You have a shit-ton to prove. It’s all well and good for your acquisitions but if you don’t do it right, people will absolutely hate you and do things like totally nuke their Yahoo accounts and never look back. I’m quite close to doing that myself until you get your shit together, but I’m holding off until Monday’s news. In the words of Ru Paul, “Don’t fuck it up!”