Tuesday, April 5, 2005

"How Yahoo Got Its Mojo Back"

HatTip to Marc on the Guardian piece. Old but good article on Yahoo!'s recent moves that are putting them back in the race and ahead of Google? Also afterwards is Om Malik's post that generated some buzz across the blogosphere.

Second sight

Guardian Unlimited
Ben Hammersley

March 31, 2005

Yahoo is the new Google. Google is the new Yahoo. Up is down, and black is white. This spring has been very strange. Google, it seems, has jumped the shark. It has been overtaken, left standing, and not by some new startup of ultra smart MIT alumni or by the gazillions in the Microsoft development budget, but by the deeply unhip and previously discounted Yahoo.

Google's reputation comes from three things: the quality of its search results, the cutting-edge research and prototypes it produces, and the interfaces it provides for other programs to tap into, known as their application program interface (API). Search, up to a point, is a matter of brawn over brains - throw more money and machines at indexing the web, and you'll get a better result. So it was the last two that really set Google apart.

Google's Labs and API were held up as exemplars of a modern internet business, while Yahoo was seen as floundering in a sea of accountants, pop-up ads, and Britney Spears. But Yahoo has learned its lesson. Research.yahoo.com, launched last month, is the same idea as labs.google.com - a showcase for new and interesting projects - but it's better. Unlike Google, Yahoo publishes its papers, names its researchers and says what it is up to. One-nil to Yahoo.

Google's API was also a thing of beauty when it launched. For programmers, the ability to query Google from inside your own programs was immensely useful. And just as Amazon and eBay have done with their APIs, the Google API produced an ecosystem of applications and programming techniques that relied on, and fed, Google's success. It was unique.

But not now. Yahoo's own API is out, and it's better. It has more features, it's more complete, it's technically more elegant, and it's easier to use than Google's alternative. Two-nil to Yahoo. (full article)

How Yahoo Got Its Mojo Back

A handful of blog-evangelists, a couple of key buys and some libertarian friendly moves have turned Yahoo from a dot.has.been to the new darling of the chattering classes. It is only a matter of time when mainstream media rediscovers Yahoo, and a stock market resurgence follows….

For Yahooligans, 2004 was a year of frustration. No one noticed the fact that company’s stock posted a hefty 72% gain, ending the year at about $38 a share. Overlooked was the fact that it had sales of $3.6 billion and net income of $834 million. That’s twice as much money it raked in 2003, and nearly three times the profit. It is no surprise that many Yahoo insiders felt like the Yankee fans - no matter what they did, they were going to be overshadowed by Google.

Google’s spectacular initial public offering (admittedly that lined Yahoo’s coffers nicely and helped with those profits in 2004) and ensuing hubbub where even political columnists were comparing the minimalist search engine to second coming of Jesus. Not a day went by when someone or the other theorized that Google was going to build a Web OS, a new kind of application framework or even a browser. In the other words Google will turn the web into a giant platform. Google was everywhere! Even in the pages of GQ.

That has tweaked the Yahoo insiders no end! Many had expressed their frustration, for rest of the world not seeing the true value of Yahoo, and how well the company was doing. It just seemed so boring, lacking the pizzaz of Google, its celebrity guests, and its wonderful chef. A few months ago, almost suddenly the tide turned. (full article)

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