I’m sorry but I’m breaking up with you, and I’m afraid that it’s you, not me. We’ve been together for over ten years, from the early days of Flickr and Yahoo Groups, but you’ve hurt my feelings twice now and I think you’ve been cheating on me. It’s been fun but it’s not going to work out. There’s no longer any trust between us.
I’ll get my stuff out of your properties and return the keys as soon as I can. Goodbyee!
In a recent Progress Report, Yahoo announced that it will be retiring a few of their products. The one that is getting the most attention is the Yahoo Directory. Is it strange that I feel nostalgia for a piece of the internet that I haven’t actually used in years?
Yahoo Directory is something I remember from when I was in college. It was the resource that made finding information on the internet a whole lot easier. I remember being excited that there were actual categories in place. Yahoo Directory made writing a paper, that had the requirement of finding at least one or two sources from “the internet”, a lot less time consuming. This was back before Google’s search engine even existed.
The announcement about Yahoo Directory’s impending retirement says:
Yahoo was started nearly 20 years ago as a directory of websites that helped users explore the internet. While we are still committed to connecting users with the information they’re passionate about, our business has evolved and at the end of 2014 (December 31), we will retire the Yahoo Directory.
There are two other product changes to be aware of. Yahoo Education will close on September 30, 2014. Yahoo explains this decision by noting that the needs of the current users of Yahoo Education “are already well served by alternate online resources”.
The Qwiki app will shut down on November 1, 2014. Those of you who want to download the content you’ve created with Qwiki can start by clicking a link on Yahoo’s Progress Report and logging into your Qwiki account.
On November 24, 2013, researchers at Trustwave discovered that hackers have obtained up to 2 million passwords for websites like Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, Twitter (and others). Researchers learned this after digging into source code from Pony bonnet. It appears that information about this has only been made public very recently.
Here’s some quick stats about some of the domains from which the passwords were stolen:
In total, Pony botnet stole credentials for: 1.58 million websites, 320,000 email accounts, 41,000 FTB accounts, 3,000 remote desktops, and 3,000 secure shell accounts.
According to Trustwave, around 16,000 accounts used the password “123456”, 2,221 used “password” and 1,991 used “admin”. Now is a good time to go change your passwords into something strong and secure.
Doing so won’t make it entirely impossible for hackers to crack it, but it could make it more difficult. Trustwave noted that only 5% of the 2 million passwords that were stolen had excellent passwords (meaning the passwords had all four character types and were longer than 8 characters).
They talked about it for over a year. People were confused why the personal homepage was shuttering. But is the page really gone, or just hiding?
iGoogle Shut Down
On November 1st, iGoogle – the webpage that allowed you to add RSS feeds, widgets and more – went offline. It was over a year in the making when Google announced they were shutter the service.
iGoogle launched in 2005 as an Ajax driven browser. You could create your own widgets using the Google Gadgets API. Of course, you could add RSS feeds for news from your favorite web sites.
Yahoo was one of the original creators of a customizable home page. If you were an IT administrator back in 2000, you saw the majority of employees that either wanted or had Yahoo as their homepage.
If you do a search for iGoogle, you will get www.yahoo.com/igoogle – pointing to the newest version of Yahoo’s customizable home page.
Is iGoogle Really Dead?
While Matt Eichner said it is no longer relevant 16 months ago, it might still be a part of future Google’s plans. Since Google is pushing more into their social network Google+, could iGoogle eventually reform into some type of page within Google+?
Chrome also has bounced back and forth on homepage ideas. It could easily add an iGoogle-esque option. all without having to type in iGoogle.
Of course, Google is moving to HTML5 and the Ajax driven iGoogle just wasn’t in the plans.
Remember AltaVista? I was quite surprised to learn that it was still in existence. Many of us have moved on to other search engines since AltaVista was created. If you are feeling a sense of nostalgia about AltaVista, you should probably go use it soon. Its days are numbered.
Yahoo! acquired AltaVista in 2003. Yahoo! has announced several of the upcoming product closures. AltaVista will shut down on July 8, 2013.
The announcement suggests that people visit Yahoo! Search “for all your searching needs”. That’s one alternative to AltaVista. I suspect that most people are probably using Google for their “searching needs”. Bing is another option.
Typically, when a company shuts down something that had been offered for years, there is some public outcry from the people who are currently using it. Most of the news I’ve read about AltaVista expresses surprise that it has survived for this long.
Flickr looks a lot different today than how it used to. Yahoo! (which owns Flickr) has given Flickr a makeover that includes a brand new design. What once showed you small thumbnails of photos, with a lot of white, empty, space surrounding them, now features the photos much more prominently.
To me, it seems like Flickr’s new look resembles that of Facebook, or perhaps Pinterest. The photos are bigger, filling up the screen. Users now have a homepage that includes an activity feed that combines your friends’ recent uploads with the activity on the photos that you have uploaded. I wasn’t thrilled with the new design at first, because it takes me a long time to “re-learn” how to use social media when it visually changes. Eventually, I figure the new design will grow on me.
In addition to the very obvious design change, Flickr also announced that users will get a free terabyte of space. Their blog says:
At Flickr, we believe you should share all your images in full resolution, so life’s moments can be relived in their original quality. No limited pixels, no cramped formats, no memories that fall flat. We’re giving your photos room to breathe, and you the space to upload a dizzying number of photos and videos, for free. Just how big is a terabyte? Well, you could take a photo every hour for forty years without filling one.
In December of 2012, Flickr released a Flickr iPhone app. Today, it announces the release of the Flickr app for Android users, which can be found at the Google Play store.
Today Yahoo! announced they have purchased Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Of course, Yahoo’s track record for buying companies seems to be that of a kid with ADHD at Christmas time – by February they want new toys. Will this be a great deal for Yahoo! or will we they just push aside for another acquisition down the road.
Yahoo! Acquires Tumblr
Tumblr, a microblogging and social networking platform that was founded by David Karp in 2007 was purchased by Yahoo! for $1.1 billion dollars. Tumblr brings in 175 employees and 108.5 million blogs that reach 44 million people. This inlcudes the thousands of blogs that were imported from Posterous a few months back.
The Exodus from Tumblr to WordPress May Show No Faith in Yahoo! Tumblr
According to Matt Mullenweg’s blog today, imports have spiked to WordPress after the news of Yahoo! purchase. “Normally we import 400-600 posts and hour from Tumblr, last hour is was over 72,000.”
Marissa Meyer replied with a “We won’t screw this up” answer. She posted on her own Tumblr (the one with a very annoying gif saying “NOW PANIC and FREAK OUT” followed by “Keep Calm and Carry On”. You can see the annoying gif here.
“We promise not to screw it up.” says Mayer. “Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going. We will operate Tumblr independently. David Karp will remain CEO. The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve. Yahoo! will help Tumblr get even better, faster.”
You may have written off Yahoo search, but the company themselves haven’t yet given up, even though they have outsourced most everything to Bing. Today the former leader of the industry rolled out a brand new version of their video and image search. Yahoo has strengthened their partnership with Getty Images to help power the new features.
Getty brings with them access to some of the highest quality images and they claim about 20,000 new images added daily and material from some of the highest-profile photographers. In addition to the new images there are new features to go along with them. Both image and video search have a brand new tiled thumbnail look. The thumbnails become larger when hovered on, much like Bing and Google have been doing for some time. Also borrowed from search competitors is the infinite scroll feature that Yahoo has now introduced. There are also two new filters on the left column – HD and Recent. “For images, the HQ badge identifies photos with at least 2 megapixels and a 1024 x 768 aspect ratio. For Yahoo! HQ videos, we use adaptive streaming technology to optimize your viewing experience by continuously adjusting the quality of the streamed Yahoo! hosted video to match the capabilities of your network and device.” Users can also search in the right column while watching a video in the main part of the screen.
The new features seem to be rolling out and not all users have access to them right now. To see more images of the new features you can head over to the Yahoo blog.
It’s a bold move to Yahoo! to do, but they have come out with their own browser. Calling itself a “Search Browser“, Axis has added many features to not only go to web pages, but also search on relevant content. With the tabs browser below and a login system to personalize experience, this might just be the browser to replace Safari on the iPad.
Right now,Axis is available for iOS devices, and as a plug-in for Chrome, IE, Firefox and Safari. Axis works like Google Chrome – you enter a web page or search term into the bar, and get results.
Axis on Searching
A pull-down menu shows you alternatives to what you are searching for. So if you were looking for “American Idol Winner”, you could flip between the American Idol homepage, Wikipedia’s entry on American Idol, or a multitude of news sources that are currently talking about American Idol. Best part is you don’t have to leave the page you are currently on to do a quick search and find out that Phillip Phillips is the 2012 American Idol Winner.
This is perfect for doing research, like looking up someone’s twitter handle, or finding a web page to refer to.
Axis Login option, Facebook, Google, but no Microsoft?
Yahoo! understands that you might not have a Yahoo! email address to login with. Therefore, they give you an option to also login to the browser using your Facebook or Google accounts. Conspicuously missing is the option for Microsoft’s Windows Live login. After all, isn’t Yahoo! using Microsoft’s search engine?
If you are accessing from the desktop, you will have to head to Yahoo!s login page. If you have a Yahoo! account, it will assume you want to sign in with that. To get the desktop add-on, go to http://axis.yahoo.com/
Move Across Multiple Machines, Keep the Same Pages Open
With Yahoo!s Connected experience, it allows you to move from mobile device to notebook or desktop without having to re-open pages. This is perfect for someone like me – I can set up my podcast show notes, then log into another computer and have the pages automatically load.
It also syncs your bookmarks, browsing history, and saved searches.
Yahoo! Axis seems to be an interesting little browser. With the ability to sync, it will probably replace Safari on my iPad.
Axis Tabs Option
Tabs on Yahoo! Axis are along the bottom on a pop-up option. You can add a tab (by pressing the “+”) or remove it (by pressing the “X”). Run multiple tabs for easy access to pages.
Axis on the Browser – The Return of the Yahoo! Homepage?
If you install on your browser, you will see a bar on the lower-left hand of your browser. Hover over to expand across the screen, and hit a button to expand. up. You can access your tabs and other search queries. It does take a little bit of time to understand (The ribbon on the left side will open your bookmarks, for example).
For the couple of hours that I have played with it, I am pretty impressed with Yahoo! Axis’ functionality. It does have the ability to bring up Yahoo.com – a page I haven’t really seen since 2001 when I was a lonely IT desktop specialist tasked to change the default browser homepages to the company’s website.
The latest search market share numbers have been released and two trends have continued – Bing is up and Yahoo is down. The numbers have been posted by both Compete and ComScore and the trends shown by both are very similar. Unfortunately for Microsoft, while Bing is gaining share on Yahoo, they are not getting anywhere in their battle against Google, who continue to be the 600 pound gorilla in the room.
Google, while maintaining their strangle-hold, has not seen an increase since late 2011, but that changed between March and April when their market share increased from 65.5% to 65.9% according to Compete rankings. Meanwhile, ComScore showed a slight Google decrease from 66.4% to 65.5%.
According to Compete Bing increased their share from 18.0% to 18.3% and Yahoo dropped from 15.7% to 15.0%. ComScore listed the changes as Yahoo being down from 13.7% to 13.5% and Bing with a slight increase from 15.3% to 15.4%.
While the slight increases for Bing sound promising it seems that most of the gain come at the expense of Yahoo and not Google. That isn’t so good since Bing now powers Yahoo search. Bing has recently released a series of updates that add better search results, functionality, and interface which could lead to another increase when the May numbers are released. You can check out both share rankings posted below.