Yahoo was the first page on the internet I learned to use. It pleases me to see it going through a revitalization period. I expect them to be coming up with some exciting product changes and introductions soon. Before we see them commit to something though, I wanted to think with an open mind about what exactly Yahoo should be aiming for. I wanted to borrow the opinionated style of Andrew Kim, but digging slightly deeper. I not only went through product pages and Yahoo history, but also some of its developer and research pages to only suggest things that are consistent with Yahoo’s intellectual, infrastructural and artistic resource. Here are my notes from the process:
These strengths taken into account, Yahoo has a lot of separate product efforts that are tightly related. As an example, services like Pipes, myYahoo, alerts, and all aspects of news are all about up to date information. What if you had the power of Pipes and the accessibility of News?
Reading then about Yahoo’s streaming Hadoop job infrastructure and deep understanding of advertising and economic data, I think Yahoo is perfectly placed to deliver a dashboard solution. We need a big player to deliver this at scale, and none of the other giants have taken the leap. Google Now is a poke in that direction, I suppose, but it’s push-based and does not have an API for delivering custom information. Business and consumers should not have to roll out custom dashboard solutions much like they don’t provide their own e-mail clients.
I call it Horizon, to suggest access to what’s on the other side of the globe, i.e., beyond the horizon.
An HTML5 based, thoughtfully designed visualization element library would allow integration with others vendors’ and individuals’ data. A market for data, if you will.
Using Edward Tufte’s visualization principles, I chose a monochromatic, text and line heavy design where properties like size, shape and brightness directly reflect information novelty and importance.
Horizon scales from big screens to watches.
This would be relatively “safe” product, filling a clear gap in the market using very familiar technology. For the more distant future, I think Yahoo should innovate in interactive learning. It’s known for combining expert knowledge and insight with computer delivered data. Yahoo always had a bit more humanity to it than some of its competitors and that should be the bottom line going ahead.