Sunday, January 30, 2011

Yahoo Taking a Back Seat?

Perhaps they've been doing this for a while...perhaps not. All I can say is that I just noticed it today on the Yahoo! Mail login page:

When Yahoo!, still the most popular Internet email application, and one of the bigger players on the web in terms of user headcount, not to mention being a fairly large OpenID provider, offers to let you sign in using Google and/or Facebook, that's a sea change.

They are acknowledging that they are a second-fiddle site now; that they don't have the draw they once did, and that they would be best served letting the avid/growing Facebook & Google users to create accounts and/or log-in using their existing credentials.

Friday, January 28, 2011

How About a Qwiki?

I read a report in Venture Beat about a week ago that one of the Facebook founders had invested in Qwiki, which promises to deliver "A New Information Experience".

I had signed up for Qwiki Alpha, and was notified a few days ago that I was now able to get in and give it a whirl.

It certainly is slick. It's also kind of funny in a "is that really what they're doing?" sort of way. After logging in, I was curious to see what kind of results I'd get if I searched for Ryan Adams (a musician who I like, despite the fact that his latest ablum is pure rubbish).

Qwiki is all about multimedia. They display their information in an audio-visual kaleidescope of sorts rather than dry text on a page.

What was amusing is that the audio portion of the content was apparently a text-to-speech rendition of Ryan Adams' Wikipedia page! I realized this instantly because I had recently read his Wikipedia information and recognized that they were merely vocalizing the same exact text.

So, Qwiki appears to just be lifting Wikipedia's text content rather than facilitating new information entry. Qwiki is not by any stretch of the imagination a wiki. Rather, it appears to quickly present the first section from existing Wikipedia entries.

When it encounters a link in the text it reads, the kaleidescopic images change to reflect the linked term. So when it mentioned that he was married in Savannah, Georgia, the images changed to reflect those associated with Savannah, Georgia. The images also appear to be those referenced in Wikipedia.

VentureBeat fails to mention this information vulturing in its recent article covering the site, yet another example of tech media hyping new companies purlely to justify their own existence. VB and TechCrunch are notorious for their lax reporting (actually, they are mostly blogs and not real reports or articles) standards, and this is just another example.

Nonetheless, Qwiki is worth checking out. It's kind of neat. Now, if they could expand their scope to pull in content from recent news articles and/or other websites/publications, then it would be more compelling/powerful.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Consider Customer Buying Processes

Good post by Jeff Lash over at the How To Be A Good Product Manager blog.

Excerpt: If you want to be a bad product manager, assume that if you build a great product, getting people to buy it will not be a problem. If you want to be a good product manager, understand your customers’ buying process and factor that in to the overall design of your product.
Read the full blog post...