Usually Google is the search engine known for its innovative new products. Lately, I've noticed some interesting developments from Yahoo! which have started to peak my interest. Yahoo! has had a slow start to 2007 with their latest statement of revenue falling short of financial predictions. However, I expect to see much from Yahoo! in the near future because they don't want to relinquish anymore of their strength in the online space (especially to Google and MSN). The products that have recently been released and have caught my attention are Yahoo's Suggestion Board and Yahoo! Pipes. The Yahoo! suggestion board is similar to a voting based system that Digg and Reddit have already been using for quite some time, whereas Yahoo! Pipes is a new concept where information from various resources can be outputted to a single location.
Yahoo! Suggestion Board
The Suggestion Board, dubbed the Tango project is simple way for users to communicate bugs or enhancements on many of Yahoo's products. Voting for the submitted topics help Yahoo's team assess the need for attention per issue. "In addition to reading feedback from other users, you'll find responses from Yahoo! employees about the issues. Product teams regularly read and take action on your feedback," from the Yodel Blog. Some of the Yahoo product feedback categories include: Autos, Travel, Pipes, SiteExplorer and Food.
Many Digg users criticized Yahoo! for duplicating Digg's framework, however I agree with Michael Arrington at TechCrunch that Yahoo! didn't do anything wrong and is not a competitor to Digg. Yahoo's system is focused on getting feedback on their own products whereas Digg serves the purpose of a broader range of topics. Topics on the suggestion board are also not news items while Digg Topics are in large portion news related.
However, how well is the suggestion board going to work? I believe it could work fairly well. The suggestion board has a lot of good things going for it, including a clean/simple interface, a user driven framework and a searchable database of topics. If this spreads anything like Yahoo! Answers does, Yahoo! can count on having a unique way to understand how to improve their products for years to come. The framework is very new and I definitely see Yahoo! adding features such as: Top Users and News for Product improvements.
"Pipes is an interactive feed aggregator and manipulator. Using Pipes, you can create feeds that are more powerful, useful and relevant." Using a drag and drop type of interface users can select a set of sources (XML Feed, Google/Yahoo Search Query, Flickr), identify user inputs, apply operators (sorting, programmatic looping, truncate, concatenate, translations with Babel), and output it to a single location.
In order to grow the Yahoo! Pipes community Yahoo! has added sections such as documentation, discussion boards, and the ability to view other users' pipes. On the home page you can find featured pipes as well as news on the latest updates to Yahoo! Pipes.
I do have to admit that the interface is a little clunky and it does have somewhat of a learning curve. Having some programming knowledge is also a nice bonus when trying to use some of the advanced modules. There have been times the interface crashed on me and I was unable to save my changes, however I think that this product will continually see improvements and enhancements. I was able to develop a simple pipe of my own which included combining 2 feeds, sorting them by date and applying an English to Spanish filter.
As I mentioned before, I think we'll see Yahoo! continue to build additions to their portfolio of products or enhancements to existing tools in order to remain competitive. Yahoo's suggestion board and Yahoo! Pipes are a great start to 2007 and the purchase of MyBlogLog late last year was also a great addition. I am interested to see what else Yahoo! comes out with and I plan on trying to stay on top of it all.
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Manoj has been in the Digital marketing industry for over 10 years with experience at some of Canada's largest companies: WestJet and Shaw Communications. Manoj first started in the search marketing industry with Enquiro Search Solutions, where he spearheaded web analytics, SEO Training and the development of cutting edge search marketing solutions for clients. Manoj is also an entrepreneur in the Mobile and Local Deals space.
Manoj is a Professional Speaker having participated at events such as Web Analytics Congress (Amsterdam), Emetrics, Web Analytics Xchange, WebTrends Engage, Internet Marketing Conference, Social Media Innovation Summit and Search Engine Strategies. He has also contributed to several leading online publications such as: Search Engine Land, Marketing Pilgrim, WebProNews, Search Engine Guide and the Web Analytics Assocation.
He founded and successfully sold Web Analytics World (a top 100 Digital Marketing Blog – http://adage.com/power150) and was voted #39th Most Influential Digital Marketer in North America – 2009 (see: www.Invesp.net)
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