Here's my take on Yahoo's Consumer Electronics Show keynote and displays. Hotness combined with crappy Tom Cruisaziness and hilarious Ellen DeGeneres-ness
It should come as no surpise that glitches and Tom Cruise go hand in hand. That's a bit of what happened to Yahoo during it's keynote. They had some problem with their Internet connection, blamed Microsoft, then brought out Tom Cruise so he could promote his movie twice. I'm not going to mention the name of his movie here, because I don't want to support him like that.
Here were the main points raised. The setup, if you will:
Yahoo's users and community is hot
Other relevant observations
- "The Internet is an infrastructure and delivery vehicle for communications and experiences and entertainment and data"
- What makes this possible is ease of use, open platforms and connections to devices
- Today's user is his own media programmer. It's not mass media but "my media," and for kids today, this isn't even a shift. It's just the way things are
- There's two types of content: established and the long tail
- Consumers are becoming producers and generating a lot of content
- There are 900 million PCs in the world but 2 billion cell phones
- If we lose our cell phones, we lose our phone books!
- It's too hard to get photos off the cell phone
Therefore, Yahoo introduced a suite of services under the umbrella, "Yahoo Go," trying to create a "seamless experience" across the desktop, mobile phone and television.
Yahoo Go Desktop
- They bought the company Konfabulator and renamed it Yahoo Widgets. These are a lot like the Widgets in Apple's Dashboard. And really, Apple stole the idea from the original Konfabulator. So there. Who says companies can't steal?
- A desktop sidebar, just like Google Desktop
Yahoo Go Mobile
This is where stuff gets interesting
- local web search with click-to-call and user ratings on the results plus navigation. Basically, you search for pizza, and it will show you all the pizza joints nearby. You can call them, see the ratings and get turn by turn directions.
- can get all email. not just yahoo
- address book is synced live in the background to your Yahoo contacts
- photos are synced in background to existing online Yahoo photo albums, and in the other direction, your pics are "downscaled" so you're not downloading a gigantic image on your itty bitty cell phone screen
- initial partners are Nokia and Motorola
- partnering with Cingular wireless
Ok, have you caught your breath? Auto-syncing of the phone book!! Never again do I have to get an email from a friend being like, "Um hi everybody, but I seem to have gotten a little drunk last night and left my panties and cell phone in a cab. Can you please send me your phone numbers and, while you're at it, tell me where I live."
Finally, there was Yahoo Go TV
- Intel Viiv-optimized
- Includes Yahoo video search with community-driven navigation
- access to your Yahoo music playlists
- movie listings, trailers etc
- watch television and do the TiVo thing
- view Yahoo and Flickr photos
Unfortunately, they weren't able to get the demo working. CEO Terry Semel said, "Well, we know whose software this is running on." More bitch-slapping of the Bill Gates.
I did get to see the demo later in the week, but what really got me excited was the concept for the next version of Yahoo Go TV. Check out this pic. Go ahead, click it:
That's an image of the future of television. Yahoo demonstrated this:
Whatever you're watching (DVD, video on demand, live television, TiVo-ed television), Yahoo will be able to identify it in the same way that iTunes IDs your CD when you rip it. They can pull the title, running time, actors, critics rating, Yahoo user rating etc. At this point, you can rate the movie yourself, recommend the show to a Yahoo Messenger buddy, find out what movies the other actors have been in and even buy the DVD, order it on demand or schedule your Yahoo DVR to record the show when it airs. That's tight right? But wait, there's more.
Check out this pic:
That shows how you can access the news and other RSS feeds while you watch TV. You can just see headlines or read a whole story, and the ads are kind of personalized in the same way that the ads you see on Yahoo are. They will depend on what you're up to and not seem so random like TV ads. You can even shrink down that vertical bar to a little box on the lower left corner that shows you one headline at a time. No more watching TV with the laptop in your lap or running to your computer. All this is done with the remote.
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Overall, I say Yahoo wins dammit!! Between the phone book syncing and the future TV thingy, I'm hooked. Yahoo for Yahoo!