smells like ask in here
November 5, 2004 6:18 AM   Subscribe

AskYahoo.
posted by luser (20 comments total)
 
meh.... yahoo has some cool stuff but they just sap my attention with all their adds. I suggest checking out the launch features, but even those i would rather just watch them on winamp sans advertising.

Basically google has stolen my soul like a beautiful girl in a 6th grade class that one can't help noticing has grown breasts over the summer.
posted by sourbrew at 6:25 AM on November 5, 2004


Finally, Yahoo adds a feature to their website in which I can inquire about specific topics and be directed to resources related to them.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:35 AM on November 5, 2004


Yahoo's entire business plan at this point seems to be "copy google", usually in the same way a high school kid copies his favourite piece of album art (if there was such a thing anymore) for art class: Badly.
posted by substrate at 6:36 AM on November 5, 2004


sourbrew: in this case it's appropriate to stop thinking of the children.

(good analogy though)

substrate, i was thinking the same thing - i don't go to yahoo at all (office mate has a yahoo messenger thing, and it keeps going off and making noise when he isn't here, and i thus hate the company...) but really, it looks about as close to google as you can get without being hit by a lawsuit.

you can tell though that in the geek community google has more cred - nobody's developed a yahoo toolbar for mozilla/firefox, but a googlebar was put into production a long time ago.

little google clones. heh. next thing you know, they'll start rumors that they're working on a yahoo browser...
posted by caution live frogs at 7:06 AM on November 5, 2004


I may have forever damaged my Yahoo searchability, but it was worth it:

"Dear AskYahoo,

How is this not just a shameless no-cred late-for-the-party knockoff of Google Answers?

xoxoxo"
posted by cortex at 7:48 AM on November 5, 2004


I thought I should add this, I received it via email so I will have to take back my assertion that Yahoo copied it from Google.

Sadly, I don't have a MeFi account, so I couldn't post my response to you at MeFi; however, since both of you are under the impression that Yahoo! copied Ask Y! from Google, I thought that you would find it interesting that Ask Y! has been around since May of 1998, which predates Google's existence as a company.

You could verify this by paging through the Q/A's and noting the dates. For example, see:

http://ask.yahoo.com/ask/19980518.html

which is the very first Q/A from Ask Y! that I know of.

Disclaimer: I work for Yahoo!.

I think the more interesting question is: Why do so many people assume that Y! has copied G, when more often than not, it has been the other way around?
posted by substrate at 8:25 AM on November 5, 2004


caution live frogs - I suppose i should have made the analogy clearer and said that i would be a 6th grader too...... Or rather that the feelings invoked in me by google are similar to innocent love and schoolboy crushes.
posted by sourbrew at 8:35 AM on November 5, 2004


Yeah, this isn't anything new.

Google captured the geekollective's complete attention because it had a kick-booty search, but a lot of its other "new" features have been around elsewhere for quite some time, and people with Google-lover-blinders don't always realize that.

Google's awesome, and they've done a lot of really innovative things. Google Answers just wasn't one of them.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 9:05 AM on November 5, 2004


substrate: Very interesting.

I'm not being snarky but I'm wondering if your emailing person has an answer for why, if it's been around since 1998, no one's heard of it?!?
posted by dobbs at 9:31 AM on November 5, 2004


They is moving in on Metafilter territory, they is. You mess with Matt "Drastic" Haughey, he messes with you. I predict they'll be waking up with a horse's head in their bed pretty soon.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:45 AM on November 5, 2004


Google captured the geekollective's complete attention because it had a kick-booty search

It's more than that. Google captured the geek world's attention because of their quality search *and* their commitment to not being evil. Maybe this has changed in the last few years since I have visited any search engine other than Google, but it used to be the case that search engines were big boxes of ads with a tiny little search field in the corner that took you to pages full of sponsored links with maybe half a dozen crappy search result entries down at the bottom somewhere. Google's clear, simple layout and honest search results were as big a part of their initial success as their surprisingly broad and accurate search system.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:10 AM on November 5, 2004


dobbs: my thoughts exactly! Maybe Yahoo could have been the company Google is today had they promoted all their stuff more effectively.
posted by DrDoberman at 10:11 AM on November 5, 2004


"their commitment to not being evil"

Does anybody else feel this is ridiculously low bar to set for loving a company?

Should you all love me because I have made a commitment not to put cigars out on babies foreheads? (anymore)
posted by srboisvert at 10:58 AM on November 5, 2004


I've had Ask Yahoo on "My Yahoo" for years. There are a lot of features in My Yahoo just waiting for googlization.
posted by mouthnoize at 11:43 AM on November 5, 2004


Does anybody else feel this is ridiculously low bar to set for loving a company?

i don't think he used the word "love" at all ...

it's not love, it's acceptance. which search engine do you trust more? why? if there was a decent search that donated half its ad profits to starving children, i'd use that one. there isn't (is there?)
posted by mrgrimm at 12:31 PM on November 5, 2004


Also because google wasn't shoving a firehose of ads down your pants the search page loaded quickly. That may not seem much now but back in the 14.4/HST days of the early web the fact that google's search results page loaded in less than a second and yahoo!/Altavista/etc. allowed you to go for a coffee and a donut and still be loading when you got back was a big plus for google.
posted by Mitheral at 1:15 PM on November 5, 2004


I was an early yahoo user, I don't remember exactly when it came out but at the time I thought it kicked ass. I still think of yahoo as a directory more than a search engine which at the time was appropriate. There was a usenet group that announced the coming and going of websites, it was manageable enough to at least grep for interesting headers.

That time past and the idea of a directory was quaint, search engines came onto the scene and most of them sucked. Even though there wasn't anything better you knew that they were just wrong in the way they searched. I didn't know exactly why (and I suppose if I did I'd be writing this from a gold plated keyboard or something) but directories were still about as useful as a search engine.

Altavista came around and at the time it was the first engine that got it, at least in my opinion. There were competitors but none of them had the quality of results Altavista did. The logical syntax was great as well.

Google was the next big thing to come on the scene, I was suspicious at first but the results were always better than Altavista's.

To most people Yahoo is still a directory. There's a lot of stuff there which most of us have never explored. I know there are classifieds, personal ads, email. I never knew about Ask Yahoo because it never occured to me to go back very often. I think Yahoo squandered a lot of it's geek credibility by adding in too many features and making it more of a one stop consumer shop than a directory or search engine.

Right now if you say "google" most of us will first think of a search engine. Not just a search engine but at this point in time the gold standard of search engines. There are other features of course, such as Google News. If Google announces a new feature a lot of us feel the need to investigate it. Google has credibility and they often have a unique way of getting things right.

If Yahoo wants their geek cred back declutter it. Return Yahoo to it's former spartan splendor. Move the additional stuff to YahooXtra or something. I use Yahoo to check stocks because it's quick and easy and doesn't require my password. But beyond that there's just too much there for me to bother exploring. Too often it locked me out anyway because I use linux at work and MacOS X at home.

I know if I log on to google that I'll see the same familiar interface maybe with an additional link if something is new. I know that if I want to access News I can type in "news.google.com". This is part of why Google gets credit for inventing something new even if somebody else did it first. You can see it, it's obvious. If you go to www.yahoo.com it's hard to imagine how a new feature would be visible unless you made it blink, shout and vibrate.
posted by substrate at 1:32 PM on November 5, 2004


I'd like to declare Gary Flake to be seemingly a nice enough guy. I feel much better having acknowledged to him that I was being a total prick.

I think there's a drinking-the-koolaid bias in his closing question --

"I think the more interesting question is: Why do so many people assume that Y! has copied G, when more often than not, it has been the other way around?"

-- and I think substrate hit it on the head: Google did it right from a UI point of view. When I go to google.com, I notice when something is new or different. For that matter, when something new or different happens with Google, the nerd gestalt seems to really care.

I think people assume that Yahoo! copied Google because they percieve Yahoo! to be one of the great dinosaurs of the early Web (directories indeed!). Perhaps that's unfair to Yahoo!, but they still to this day strike me as some lumbering corporate-tastic extension of cluttered and overfeatured and ugly-busy web portal blech.

Google on the other hand is clean and cool and made with shiny chrome. It's cooler. My aunt uses Yahoo!; I use Google. Perception is everything, or at least a lot.

(I have to admit -- even in submitting my snarky missive I suspected I was off-base; was it really that hard to imagine that Yahoo had thought of this a while back and it just wasn't visible or known for the reasons listed above? So I think I was largely curious to see whether I would get a response, and what form it would take. And, as it turns out, I got a better response than I deserved.)
posted by cortex at 2:25 PM on November 5, 2004


dobbs: my thoughts exactly! Maybe Yahoo could have been the company Google is today had they promoted all their stuff more effectively.

Yeah, or maybe Yahoo shouldn't have bought up every company they could get their hands on, then laid off the vast majority of their knowledge workers and offshored everything.

Perhaps that's unfair to Yahoo!, but they still to this day strike me as some lumbering corporate-tastic extension of cluttered and overfeatured and ugly-busy web portal blech.

They are. And they infected every company they touched. It was a company founded by geeks that got taken over by idiots with MBAs and marketing droids that promptly marginalized the geeks and went straight for the AOL demographic.

Google has been able to hold the geek factor a lot longer than I would have expected. I predict continued success as long as they stick to that formula.
posted by dejah420 at 7:13 PM on November 5, 2004


skallas you do make some pretty reasonable points about the Big G except that right now the company is already making some serious profits (as a % of revenue, at least) which is why the stock price is double the IPO. Even after the profit taking of this week.
posted by billsaysthis at 7:19 PM on November 5, 2004


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