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The New News at Yahoo

Richard MacManus of Web 2.0 has some initial thoughts on the redesign of Yahoo News. More branding for the content providers, clever uses of collapsing menus so that it’s easier to flick between categories and top headlines from different sources, and a new "drill down" feature which lets you run a Y!Q search on words and phrases that have been enabled within articles. There’s even a cool little slideshow feature that lets you play the through the top photos of the day (I see now this is not a new feature but it’s cool nonetheless).

Yahoo’s editorial touch is evident as well with links to articles that have been pulled together to cover popular topics. Yahoo’s had these "Full Coverage" pages before but having them highlighted in the top right brings this feature to the fore. Links at the bottom of stories allow you to IM a story to someone and an interactive ranking system for each story no doubt feeds into the "Recommended Stories" section.

RSS junkies would be happy to hear that almost everything you can think of is RSS-enabled so you can bring your own slice of what you see into your reader.

I think I see Neil Budde’s vision taking place. Neil joined the Yahoo News team in November and was one of the original minds behind wsj.com. This is what happens when you give someone with editorial vision access to a team of talented engineers.

Online Journalism Review coverage of Yahoo News
Online Tour of Yahoo News

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Yahoo Generates Buzz

The folks over at Yahoo Research have teamed up with O’Reilly and Newsfutures to run a simulated stock market, Buzz Game, where players can buy and sell companies, technologies, and other memes on an open market. You get a virtual $10k to start and the players with the most in their portfolio by the end of July get actual prizes.

I just bought a bunch of stuff and already I’m down to $8k in less than 30 minutes which doesn’t bode well.

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Yahoo to buy Flickr

In other news this weekend, Yahoo has confirmed that it has purchased online photo collaboration and folksononomy pioneer, Flickr. Major cred points for the folks in Purple and Yellow. Write ups from Jeremey Zawodny at Yahoo and Caterina at Flickr. It’s now really getting interesting!

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Yahoo API plugin for Movable Type

It was only a matter of time. Ken McCloskey over at Pixelabra has developed a plug-in to allow you to search Yahoo! using their new API from within Movable Type.

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Yahoo Search API

Just in time for it’s 10 year anniversary, Yahoo opened up API access to its search platform.  Allowing programmatic access to search services via URLs is a trail that Google has already blazed but in what maybe another arms race as we saw with hosted email storage, Yahoo allows five times the number of queries; 5,000 over a 24 hour period.

There’s already an O’Reilly Hacks book in the queue (what’s with the cowboy boots on the cover anyway?), a growing list of applications that’s hosted on a wiki, and, a developer’s weblog running on our favorite blog platform, Movable Type.
Jeremy Zawodny
has done a great job of bringing together all the right tools to get this ecosystem off the ground and is clearly the booster that made it happen. Great work!

Opening up access this way ties in nicely with Yahoo’s media hub strategy which distributes their services in order to drive people back to Yahoo properties, boosting page views for advertising and brand awareness. The question on everyone’s mind is if the Search API set is a trial balloon for a broader rollout of other services. Yahoo IM? Finance? Music? Maps? Horoscope API anyone?

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Google Hubris?

I just uninstalled Google Desktop Search which has been running alongside Yahoo Desktop Search for the past few months. Not only did Yahoo have a better preview feature of hits, Google’s tool was, strangely enough, too integrated into the browser. I prefer to jump into "Search archives & files mode" as a separate activity from my browsing and internet search activity. Having Desktop Search running in a separate application window helped that.

The recent hullabaloo over Google Toolbar Autolinks didn’t help either.

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Yahoo cuts to the chase

We’ve seen it played out over and over again. The internet has enabled consumers to go directly to the production plant for disintermediated product. Covered in detail in Michael Lewis’ book, Next, the internet has upset age old business models, putting raw materials within reach of the everyman and providing a platform for a thousand new business models to bloom. 2004 was another banner year for online vendors as more go with a source that, because of its virtuality, can offer better inventory and price that a brick & mortar counterpart. Amazon vs. the Mall; it’s like watching mountains crumble into the sea.

Today’s announcement by Yahoo that it will source quotes directly from the stock exchanges is another notch towards the reinvention of the information industry. Reuters, the traditional source of market data, built its business on charging a premium for market data which it sourced from the markets, both in bulk from the exchanges, but also aggregated, from the banks that wanted to list their prices on the Reuters network. It is rare when you have a business model that allows you to charge not only for subscriptions but also for contributions. As any CEO of a public company will tell you, it is hard to fix something until it’s broke.

"This significantly increases our ability
to extend our brand outside of our network,” said Craig Forman, vice
president of information and finance at Yahoo. "We will have more
control of financial information that we can then distribute.”

Depending upon the deal they cut with the exchanges, Yahoo may become the preferred provider of market data on the internet. Superior price and integration options are something that I’m sure they will aspire to and advertising can help offset their costs, an option that’s not part of Reuters’ corporate DNA. Abstracted to our earlier example, is Yahoo going to become the Amazon of Financial Data while Reuters continues to charge a premium for access to a relatively closed network of proprietary information? We certainly do live in interesting times.

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Taquitos.net

yahoorss_1.JPGNo lie here, click the screen shot on the left – the 12th most popular RSS feed on My Yahoo is Taquitos.net

Let’s see, Techbargins.com. . . check, CNET News.com, ok, that seems right. Wired News, yes, I’ll take that. Braingle brain teasers – yep that might be fun . . . and – Taquitos.net? It’s even more popular than the NYT Business section! Either the geeks or the MyYahoo readers are eating way too many Doritos!

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Yahoo Desktop Search

Yahoo! throws down a card in the ever escalating search wars. Based on X1, the Yahoo engine will not only index content on your hard drive but, according to John Battelle’s information, will also  reach out and find relevant information in and among the Yahoo properties.

Look for release early next year.

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Gary interviews Gary

I’m on a plane to Tokyo for a week of time with the family but wanted to post links to a conversation between Gary Price and Gary Flake, Principal Scientist & Head of Yahoo! Research Labs so that I can read it later.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three