I keep thinking about My Yahoo! and ways that Yahoo! might develop it into something really useful and compelling. The day of the “RSS reader” has come and gone. Though many people use Google Reader or iGoogle or Netvibes these products have failed to break through into the mainstream by and large. My Yahoo! was/is the leader in the category.
When Yahoo! updated its homepage to make it capable of customization it made My Yahoo! less relevant, although the latter has many more features. My Yahoo! is in need of an update and could become a very useful and strategic product for the company — with a few tweaks and a redesign.
Why not make it a personal dashboard where users can see and update social network news feeds, read news, take notes, send email, conduct local searches, save websites and so on. It can do many if not most of those things today but the UI is not very friendly and it’s not simple enough to accomplish these tasks.
Internet users are often seeking to accomplish concrete tasks and My Yahoo! could be a kind of personal assistant in the process; this is how people generally use search today but search is an incomplete tool.
Mike Arrington of TechCrunch asks “But Seriously, What Is Yahoo?” coming off his expletive-tinged interview with Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz last week. In his article, Arrington contrasts AOL CEO Tim Armstrong’s one line answer about AOL’s new identity vs. Bartz’s laundry list of features and capabilities.
As embattled as it is Yahoo! still has a trusted brand (among mainstream Internet users) and it presents a central place where people can access lots of online content, tools and information.
My Yahoo! could quite easily become a kind of “personal dashboard for the Internet.” But it would need to be pre-configured, simplified and redesigned to do so.