Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Yahoo’s new home page is step in right direction, but needs work

Yahoo launched its new home page today after years of development. It’s a step in the right direction, but needs a lot more work.
Yahoo has been promising to bring together your online life in one place for a couple of years now. It’s a great idea. But Yahoo’s first crack at it with its Yahoo.com page doesn’t go nearly far enough.
The veteran Web portal and search engine needs a hit, but I’m afraid this isn’t it.
The new Yahoo.com features a customizable My Favorites column on the left side of the page. When you move your cursor over each favorite, you get a nifty at-a-glance pop-up window. The new site works best with Yahoo’s own applications like Yahoo Mail, Flickr photo sharing, and OMG! celebrity news and gossip.
You can add other Web sites, including popular social networking sites, but good luck getting them to work. I couldn’t get Facebook to connect with Yahoo tonight. Hopefully they’ll get that fixed.
On the plus side, the MySpace at-a-glance box on Yahoo looks great. I use MySpace solely to track my favorite music artists and bands and the new pop-up window gives me quick access to their latest blog, music and photo postings.
Google’s Gmail also works in a Yahoo pop-up window. But it only shows unread e-mail. I’d like to see all recent messages, just like Yahoo shows for its Yahoo Mail pop-up.
Surprisingly, there’s no ready Twitter button to add to My Favorites. You can make your own button from any Web site, but when I tried this with Twitter all I got in the pop-up window were Twitter corporate blog posts. Not tweets from those I’m following.
There also wasn’t a button to add LinkedIn, the professional social networking service.
After wasting time trying to get Facebook and Twitter to connect on the new Yahoo.com and setting up links for eBay, Gmail, Flickr and MySpace, I was pretty spent. It was a lot of work for not much utility.
Web surfers still need a portal to manage all their online activity – from social networking to e-commerce. The new Yahoo.com isn’t it. Not yet, at least.
I’m going to stick with My Yahoo as a starting home page. Yahoo should port the My Favorites preview capabilities over to My Yahoo and soon.

Screenshot: The new Yahoo.com

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