Saturday, 23 April 2016

Is Yahoo still a thing?

Today I ended up finding Yahoo again. I cant remember when I last used Yahoo search. I vaguely remember using Yahoo email. I had forgotten it was even there.

The reason why I had to use it is because my wife’s email account wasn’t syncing on her mobile. She got her email address more than a decade ago. Many people only have Yahoo today because they have an email address that has been with them so long they can’t be bothered to switched or is linked to services they care about, It’s using Yahoo out of inertia rather than desire. On the bus the other day people were talking about getting some information on the Internet and they used the word phrase “Google it” rather than “search for it”.

Yahoo started as a directory with search and it is now a “portal”. This means a directory with search. A lot of the “news” on Yahoo is spamvertising. Advertising of get rich quick schemes, celebrity gossip leading to get rich schemes or links to fake news about diet pills. So called clickbait. There is almost nothing of actual relevance. Nothing you would want to visit yahoo.com for.

Not too long ago Microsoft offered Yahoo about $40 billion to buy the company. Yahoo’s founders declined, Microsoft built Bing instead. As it happens Bing is the back end search tool for Cortana personal assistant in Windows 10 now.

Yahoo isn’t bad, evil or anything else. There is almost no press on it because almost no one has a use for it anymore. I would like it to be useful. Flickr was always a pretty good photo sharing site but in the mobile world Instagram is a thing.

Apart from legacy email accounts we get back to the question of whether Yahoo is a thing. The answer is – probably not any more. I guess it will become a generational matter. If you connected to the Internet in the 1990s you will remember Yahoo with a touch of nostalgia whereas everyone under 30 will ask – what is Yahoo?

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