Why Yahoo’s announcement today won’t get as much hype as Google’s

Google shipped a new thing last night, called Latitude. I already put it on my cell phone. It lets me tell my friends where I am. Pretty cool, right.

But today’s Yahoo announcement of Search Pad should have gotten more hype, but it won’t. As I type this at 7:35 a.m. my old boss, Vic Gundotra, who now is VP of Engineering at Google, solidly has hold of the top spot on Techmeme. Yahoo’s announcement shouldn’t threaten it. First, since you probably haven’t heard of Yahoo’s Search Pad, here’s what it does:

Let’s say you are heading to Austin for the SXSW conference next month. If you were using Yahoo’s search engine (hint: most SXSW’rs haven’t been on Yahoo in months) it would notice that you’re doing a variety of associated searches about Austin. It would save those into a new kind of notebook. Or, if it didn’t notice for some reason that you’re looking for Austin hotels, Austin BBQ, Austin restaurants, fun things to do in Austin, etc, you could start your own Search Pad and copy and paste Web pages into it.

On the surface of it Yahoo’s innovation is the kind of thing that would have early adopters like me slobbering all over myself to tell you about.

But I’m not. Here’s why:

1. When Google released Latitude last night it was available to everyone. I never even heard about Latitude from Google until the press release came into my Gmail account and when I clicked the link to try it out it all worked and I instantly told my friends on friendfeed about it and they all tried it out too and we had a big conversation about it. When Yahoo releases Search Pad today? It’s not available to everyone. Only randomly-selected people. I can’t force it on. I can’t test it. We can’t talk about it.
2. When Google released Latitude it might not have been the biggest idea, but it was aimed at a shifting paradigm: mobile phone users. Yahoo’s Search Pad? Aimed at old school web users. These people are not being forced to change their behaviors, so will be tougher to convince to try anything new. Let’s face it, if you get a new iPhone, you are going to try a TON of new things compared to the web. That’s a paradigm shift and hype comes with things that latch onto paradigm shifts.
3. When Google releases things it usually has some goodies for alpha geeks. There’s usually an API, or an advanced feature or two that only people who read Stack Overflow, Scripting News, or Life Hacker can appreciate. Yahoo’s announcement this morning? No such thing. Google’s announcement? Has tons of language that appeals to early adopters. When I interviewed Yahoo’s Tom Che, Senior Director of Product Management yesterday he admitted they were going after everyday users with Search Pad. When I asked him if I could bundle up a bunch of things in a Search Pad and forward them to Twitter, the answer was “no.” When I asked him if I could get a URL to the Search Pad, the answer was “no.” When I asked him if I could share a Search Pad with my friends, the answer was “no.” When I asked him if it would work with Google’s search engine (sorry, most of us won’t switch to Yahoo) the answer was “not really.” (You can manually enter things into a Yahoo Search Pad that you’ve found on Google, but it won’t automatically build a Search Pad for you the way it would if you were over on Yahoo’s search engine).

So, excuse me if, when you see me doing interviews today in San Francisco (I have a ton of them), I am much more excited about Google’s future than Yahoo’s future. Yahoo doesn’t get it: to get its stock price to go up and to get people like me to get excited about its future they need to care about early adopters. It’s clear they don’t care, so why should I?

90 thoughts on “Why Yahoo’s announcement today won’t get as much hype as Google’s

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  3. I agree with you except to the extent that the iPhone support is crucial for latitute.

    I got the invite to join on my iPhone via email, and when I opened it up, it said ‘Coming Soon.’

    To me, the Google launch was diminished by this–you can bet a set if iPhone users would have added fuel to the adoption fire.

  4. I agree with you except to the extent that the iPhone support is crucial for latitute.

    I got the invite to join on my iPhone via email, and when I opened it up, it said ‘Coming Soon.’

    To me, the Google launch was diminished by this–you can bet a set if iPhone users would have added fuel to the adoption fire.

  5. Yahoo puts out a lot of stuff thats not really available. Like the “Small Business Billing” number they sent me in response to a complaint I filed with the BBB (they charged my card ($34.95) for a ($2.99) domain I canceled).

    So Yahoo mails me a letter instructing me to “contact the following number: 1-866 800-8092. I call, only to hear a “No Live Support is available at this number” recording. WTF!!

    Yahoo is not out to launch, their Out To Lunch! What a bunch of F#cking yahoos!

    BTW, The wording in the letter itself is classic criminal corp. double-speak.
    “All Yahoo! Domain customers agree to auto-renewal until canceled. Our Billing department has closed this service for Mr. Rallins. He will still have service through the remainder of the paid period. Per our Terms of Service, no refunds will be issued…”

    Translation: When you buy a domain through Yahoo there’s a auto-renewal clause in the TOS so you can’t cancel a domain you “agreed” to auto-renew. So while we have closed service for you, we will continue to “service” your account as long as it is paid.

    Result: Yahoo “auto-renewed” the same canceled domain for three years, changing amounts charged to circumvent the set price renewal block my bank used. Last month, I had to cancel my card and close my account just to stop Yahoo from milking me indefinitely.

  6. Yahoo puts out a lot of stuff thats not really available. Like the “Small Business Billing” number they sent me in response to a complaint I filed with the BBB (they charged my card ($34.95) for a ($2.99) domain I canceled).

    So Yahoo mails me a letter instructing me to “contact the following number: 1-866 800-8092. I call, only to hear a “No Live Support is available at this number” recording. WTF!!

    Yahoo is not out to launch, their Out To Lunch! What a bunch of F#cking yahoos!

    BTW, The wording in the letter itself is classic criminal corp. double-speak.
    “All Yahoo! Domain customers agree to auto-renewal until canceled. Our Billing department has closed this service for Mr. Rallins. He will still have service through the remainder of the paid period. Per our Terms of Service, no refunds will be issued…”

    Translation: When you buy a domain through Yahoo there’s a auto-renewal clause in the TOS so you can’t cancel a domain you “agreed” to auto-renew. So while we have closed service for you, we will continue to “service” your account as long as it is paid.

    Result: Yahoo “auto-renewed” the same canceled domain for three years, changing amounts charged to circumvent the set price renewal block my bank used. Last month, I had to cancel my card and close my account just to stop Yahoo from milking me indefinitely.

  7. This is a case about worrying over nothing. Google is currently champ. Yahoo is probably riding on old glories and heading downhill pretty rapidly. They will survive and thrive. I’m glad MS did not acquire Yahoo, even though that episode is still not quite over. Yahoo is still a great company and puts out good stuff.

    I’m a techie and I have all the gadgets and gizmos. I have a web-enabled phone with all the bells and whistles, I have a couple of nice laptops, an Xbox and a Wii. I’m still not impressed with surfing the net on a handheld gadget, no matter how useful. The most useful thing I use my phone for is texting and occaisionally looking at a map or seeing what’s on at the theater if I’m on a date or something.

    Google scares me a little bit. They’re getting too big way too fast and they need a serious competitor, but they’re like MS — way too entrenched for too long — that anyone who does come around better offer a whole lot of cool stuff that’s a real paradigm shift. Latitude is cool, but it’s not all that.

  8. This is a case about worrying over nothing. Google is currently champ. Yahoo is probably riding on old glories and heading downhill pretty rapidly. They will survive and thrive. I’m glad MS did not acquire Yahoo, even though that episode is still not quite over. Yahoo is still a great company and puts out good stuff.

    I’m a techie and I have all the gadgets and gizmos. I have a web-enabled phone with all the bells and whistles, I have a couple of nice laptops, an Xbox and a Wii. I’m still not impressed with surfing the net on a handheld gadget, no matter how useful. The most useful thing I use my phone for is texting and occaisionally looking at a map or seeing what’s on at the theater if I’m on a date or something.

    Google scares me a little bit. They’re getting too big way too fast and they need a serious competitor, but they’re like MS — way too entrenched for too long — that anyone who does come around better offer a whole lot of cool stuff that’s a real paradigm shift. Latitude is cool, but it’s not all that.

  9. This entire article got lost for my cause I was just obsessing about telling the world where I am… WHy is that a good thing?? Big brother is watching and soon the world will be a real BladeRunner or that movie that was always tracking everyone like virtual cop stalkers. Eek! Get that off your phone immediately!!

  10. This entire article got lost for my cause I was just obsessing about telling the world where I am… WHy is that a good thing?? Big brother is watching and soon the world will be a real BladeRunner or that movie that was always tracking everyone like virtual cop stalkers. Eek! Get that off your phone immediately!!

  11. another virtual technologhy come with a half hearth and half common sense of business people,make yahoo alway away behind the google club ‘I found latitude 2 days ago on my gmail account”so far ,with my little test I found no problem ,but I will try deep further to know the limit of this new things however

  12. another virtual technologhy come with a half hearth and half common sense of business people,make yahoo alway away behind the google club ‘I found latitude 2 days ago on my gmail account”so far ,with my little test I found no problem ,but I will try deep further to know the limit of this new things however

  13. I really like SearchPad. It’s quite useful. I think that Yahoo has been falling behind Google for a while. They just don’t seem to have as many innovations as Google has. That’s why Google is everywhere now.

    Thanks for the great post.

    Misty Faucheux
    Social Media/Community Relations Manager, Viscape.com

  14. I really like SearchPad. It’s quite useful. I think that Yahoo has been falling behind Google for a while. They just don’t seem to have as many innovations as Google has. That’s why Google is everywhere now.

    Thanks for the great post.

    Misty Faucheux
    Social Media/Community Relations Manager, Viscape.com

  15. Yo. Mr Scoble.

    Yahoo actually makes (or at least made) superior products. They just don’t release them well….their go to market is horrid. Maybe this is what you were trying to say by them being focused on old school web users. Think about the superior apps Yahoo has written since 02′ish, how far they were in front of Google.

    Search pad will be another great example. Solid, very cool little plug-in that won’t go anywhere. They just don’t seem to produce products and then create a trend that pulls them into the market.

    I can tell you one trend that will be created from all of this. Office space where location based social network companies live will be available on the ‘cheap’ in a few months…every one of them just said SH*T.

  16. Yo. Mr Scoble.

    Yahoo actually makes (or at least made) superior products. They just don’t release them well….their go to market is horrid. Maybe this is what you were trying to say by them being focused on old school web users. Think about the superior apps Yahoo has written since 02′ish, how far they were in front of Google.

    Search pad will be another great example. Solid, very cool little plug-in that won’t go anywhere. They just don’t seem to produce products and then create a trend that pulls them into the market.

    I can tell you one trend that will be created from all of this. Office space where location based social network companies live will be available on the ‘cheap’ in a few months…every one of them just said SH*T.

  17. Robert,

    I was totally blind-sided by your critique — in a good way! I hopped over to watch both videos.

    I agree with your bottom line (yaye for Latitude, meh for Search Pad), but for different reasons.

    Yahoo’s effort reminds me of all those bouncing paperclips in Microsoft Word, trying to launch a Wizard while I’m doing something else. I could see it becoming very annoying. Also, like you (I guess), I’m not a big Yahoo search fan, so getting an application that sits on a search engine I’m not using is like reading about the stereo system for a golf cart when I don’t golf.

    Google, on the other hand, is going for the jugular against Apple. Yes, they’re doing a platform independent super savvy social media internet smart phone application — and then also connecting it with desktop users who also don’t need a specific platform.

    Oddly, iPhones and iPod touches aren’t included in the launch. I don’t know if that’s strategic, but I bet it will be very interesting when tech evangelthusiasts like you start the meme off at warp speed. Latitude will spread in a viral fashion because it’s open to everyone.

    The thing I don’t like about either application is that they are going back to having an account requirement. I have a Gmail account, but it’s an account where I receive junk email and newsletters and everything non-personal. I’ve never bothered synching my Gmail contacts because Gmail is pretty lousy understanding who is a friend and who is a vendor.

    Thanks for pointing them both out. Trying them out tonight!

  18. Robert,

    I was totally blind-sided by your critique — in a good way! I hopped over to watch both videos.

    I agree with your bottom line (yaye for Latitude, meh for Search Pad), but for different reasons.

    Yahoo’s effort reminds me of all those bouncing paperclips in Microsoft Word, trying to launch a Wizard while I’m doing something else. I could see it becoming very annoying. Also, like you (I guess), I’m not a big Yahoo search fan, so getting an application that sits on a search engine I’m not using is like reading about the stereo system for a golf cart when I don’t golf.

    Google, on the other hand, is going for the jugular against Apple. Yes, they’re doing a platform independent super savvy social media internet smart phone application — and then also connecting it with desktop users who also don’t need a specific platform.

    Oddly, iPhones and iPod touches aren’t included in the launch. I don’t know if that’s strategic, but I bet it will be very interesting when tech evangelthusiasts like you start the meme off at warp speed. Latitude will spread in a viral fashion because it’s open to everyone.

    The thing I don’t like about either application is that they are going back to having an account requirement. I have a Gmail account, but it’s an account where I receive junk email and newsletters and everything non-personal. I’ve never bothered synching my Gmail contacts because Gmail is pretty lousy understanding who is a friend and who is a vendor.

    Thanks for pointing them both out. Trying them out tonight!

  19. Google has really seperated itself from yahoo. There is a reason marketers place such importance on getting to the top of that google page. You just can’t say the same for the yahoo search engine.

  20. Google has really seperated itself from yahoo. There is a reason marketers place such importance on getting to the top of that google page. You just can’t say the same for the yahoo search engine.

  21. This is hell of a great post. I absolutely love your way of thinking and the things you asked to Yahoo’s. This can be applied to so many things in this internet world! You made my day :)

  22. This is hell of a great post. I absolutely love your way of thinking and the things you asked to Yahoo’s. This can be applied to so many things in this internet world! You made my day :)

  23. funny thing … the updated version of Google Maps (that includes the Latitude features) is not YET available on the G1 phone …. we’re talking about _THE_ Google Phone …. not yet available on THE Google Phone … now that’s funny!

  24. funny thing … the updated version of Google Maps (that includes the Latitude features) is not YET available on the G1 phone …. we’re talking about _THE_ Google Phone …. not yet available on THE Google Phone … now that’s funny!

  25. Sorry to inform that Gmaps 3 with Lattitude is not performing well att the moment. Att present it is a miss and old maps was better….

  26. Sorry to inform that Gmaps 3 with Lattitude is not performing well att the moment. Att present it is a miss and old maps was better….

  27. All good points, though I would add that Google sometimes is falling short on moving the ball forward from early adopters to mainstream adoption (e.g. with Google Notebook). Engineering-centric “build it and they will come” is quite often simply not enough anymore in today’s attention economy.

    Follow me on Twitter, I follow back:
    Twitter.com/AlexSchleber

  28. All good points, though I would add that Google sometimes is falling short on moving the ball forward from early adopters to mainstream adoption (e.g. with Google Notebook). Engineering-centric “build it and they will come” is quite often simply not enough anymore in today’s attention economy.

    Follow me on Twitter, I follow back:
    Twitter.com/AlexSchleber

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