April 03, 2005 Web 2.0: Yahoo!360 vs. Imeem
I've been using two different services that fall in to a category I will describe as the Web 2.0 Swiss Army Knife. My previous post describes what I feel Web 2.0 is. The Swiss Army knife is the idea that if you build a crappy knife, crappy screwdriver, crappy toothpick, and crappy tweezers but bundle them together in a convenient form factor, you can build a something useful. Yahoo!360 and Imeem are the Web 2.0 Swiss Army Knife. They combine underpowered (crappy) blogging tools, social networking systems and file sharing in one place.
Yahoo! has many advantages, the biggest of which is the fact that they have an abundance of services that can be accessed by a single login. That is one area where Google has made a mess of things. Wired put it best when it wrote: "While Google was busy becoming what Yahoo! used to be, Yahoo! has become what AOL should have been."
Yahoo!360 fits perfectly within this model. It brings together different Yahoo! services in a way that is cohesive and easy to understand. The integration with My Yahoo! is painfully missing as is the ability to use RSS to bring all the data in and out, but the assumption is that that functionality is coming in the near future.
Despite the hoopla not everyone is impressed. Azeem Azhar put it this way: "Yahoo! 360 is 180 degrees off". His complaints are well founded. For something that's supposed to unify the various pieces of the puzzle in to a solidified whole, Yahoo! has produced something that's too ugly, too corporate and too underfeatured to be the definitive statement that it needs to be. But can you really be that critical of a 1.0?
Imeem is a Windows client application. That means that people who use the Mac, Linux or other operating system are not invited to the party. It's great to be on the client. You can do things that are either impossible or a tremendous amount of work to pull off when you're stuck in a web browser. That said, this sends the wrong message. Web 2.0 is not Windows only. I know, I know, a Mac client is in the works. That's what everyone says. I'll believe it when I see it.
This mentality of a closed system has crept in to other areas. No RSS in, no RSS out. Again, I'm sure this is on the long list of things that will be built someday, but I find it prohibitive to using the system.
I have my problems with both Imeem and Yahoo!360. Both suffer from the 1.0 problem of having potential but not having the execution to make it worth using at this point in time.
Another problem with both of them is the approach. Despite being fundamentally about inclusiveness, both are invite only. As Dave wrote: "Everything about Yahoo 360 is for members only, and in the first few hours of its life in the blogosphere, most people couldn't get in. Now, after it's launched, there's no way to see anything other than a ghost town. Maybe that's all there is, maybe not. But for a service like this, the appearance of being a ghost town is just as bad as actually being one." Make You Go Hmmm weighs in: "It’s not Yahoo’s fault, really, they are just copying Google who pulled this with Gmail and the dead zone that is Orkut."
In the end, I'm left frustrated. As Michael Rollin pointed out to me a while back, it's underwhelming to work on a tool where you add your friends and write some stuff and post some pictures... not because it was inherently problematic but because there are a million things that do that. The right solution would be something that evolved organically and didn't try and work in to the system artificially. That's what Google did with search. The directory approach was flawed, and PageRank's backlink system was based on the inherent properties of the system. Web 2.0 is about the inherent properties of the system... of the network. Instead of making "things", you make that which allows the "things" to develop on their own in ways that could not happen prior to your intervention. It's the only way.
Posted by johnnie at April 3, 2005 11:26 PM
Yahoo 360 isnt even a v 1.0 yet. It's still BETA!
Posted by: xtornxupxgirlx at July 25, 2005 08:46 PM
oh and the RSS Feed feature has now just been added :)
Posted by: xtornxupxgirlx at July 25, 2005 08:48 PM
BETA it is!
Posted by: Karl at September 11, 2006 01:05 AM