Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You Know Who


George Parker has a few words to say about Yahoo!'s attempts to come back from the dead. Bill Green has a few as well. (Bill also weighs in on AOL's similar attempt.)

I'm probably not the fairest judge since I was an "early adopter" of Google back in the 90s. I simply liked the clean interface. It was a search engine and that's all I wanted. Now it's so much more, but it's still a great search engine. They quietly added the whole "home portal" bells and whistles with iGoogle, but you can still click on "Classic Home" to get that look that takes you back to a simple search.

AOL? How do they shake the whole "Grandma's on-ramp to the Information Superhighway" image they've dug for themselves? I know two people who use AOL, and they are on dial-up. Even the little yellow man has been co-opted by Google.

Yahoo!? Wow. Just as tough. That exclamation point was so "crazy wild" back in dotcom '96. So irreverent, so "nutty." Now? So silly. So stupid. You could make the case that the name Google is just as dumb, but it's now a verb. (Yahoo! tried to duplicate that success with their failed campaign, "Do you Yahoo!?") Go to Yahoo! now and they're begging you with pop-ups to add your favorites to the site. The page has a pleading, desperate feel, like any local newspaper's website or the countless identical sites of local TV stations. "We want to be your place to find cars, jobs, weather, news, casual hookups, horoscopes, lottery numbers, email, travel, music." They want to be your homepage, the first place you see when you fire up your machine. That's a lot to ask. Sure, Yahoo!'s Flickr is good, but other than that, I've got no reason to be there.

Yahoo! might pick off some old AOL customers, and maybe some old Yahoo! devotees will try out AOL, but most of us have decided what we like at this point, and any "rebrand" is easily detected for what it is; a desperate attempt to be relevant again. Bing? I'm not even interested. MSN was never a player in this game. "Try it! It's great!" people tell me. No. I like what I use. What's that you say? They have a cool background image that changes? Well then, since you put it that way!

Is Google a monopoly? Pretty much. But I'm not jumping to a competitor in the interest of thumbing my nose and playing the rebel. Google was the new kid long ago, and I like how they've grown. Smart moves, savvy business and a product that delivers a lot for nothing.

And rather than painstakingly creating the silly logo at top in P-shop, I just went to this easy site.

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