Hey kids, how about a non-depressing uncancer post for a change? Sounds good? Okay, let's goooooooo!
Disclaimer: I work for Yahoo! Inc. I have absolutely no insight into what the mobile or app strategy is. I try to avoid those conversations if possible, unless they want or need my help. Believe me I tried it the other way and it never goes anywhere.
I want a Yahoo iPhone app for all the things I do on Yahoo. Hold on... now listen carefully. I don't want one single app that does all that. That's too Yahoo. I want a single app for each of the things that I do on Yahoo. A focused app for each of the key things that Yahoo offers. There are already some, but it's not enough and I still don't see a cohesive approach yet. Toes have been wet too long so it would be good to see some action.
The reason is simple. The best apps are simple, focused, and fill a need. A need that's important to you at that moment and time. Those needs are the same no matter if you are near your laptop or near your iPhone. You want information or you want to do something specific at that given time. The app user experience is perfect for this. They are tiny applications that, by definition do small things or provide some small service. This is what Yahoo is all about. Or it can be. Yahoo has done a great job (for better or worse) of creating "channels" of content and services. These meet specific needs and there's a lot that goes into them. The problem with them on the web site is that they always try to do too much. There rarely ever is focus to Yahoo! vertical properties. Some are better than others, but I'll just leave it at that.
The app infrastructure and expected user experience solves this problem. It forces the developers to create a very targeted and focused application. If done right, they expose the core of the service and let nothing much else get in the way.
Here are the Yahoo! Apps that have been built and are in the iTunes Store:
- Yahoo! - this is the wrong idea. It tries to do way too much. You name it, it's in there. Hey! Just like Yahoo! Bah! This should be scrapped and broken out into several specific apps.
- Flickr - This is new and it's on the right track. But it's missing key functionality and settings capabilities. First... that slide show at the beginning. I want to control who I see there. But it gives me the same random people from my contacts list. It's also pretty slow. Why cant I see my favorites? Why can't I favorite other images? And it crashes constantly. Good first step though. But I'd like to see a product roadmap. (iTunes keeps crashing on me while I try to get these links, so you're on your own now.)
- Finance - I haven't tried this one yet, but from what I've seen, i looks really good. Speed is key though, so I hope it's as fast as possible.
- Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football - I do use this. I got talked into joining a fantasy leauge with my pals in Yahoo Travel. I have no idea what I'm doing, but I see the fun of it. Oh! That reminds me, I need to check the stats for today's games. I'm in 3rd right now...
- Yahoo! Messenger - I have it, but I don't use it. I'm not sure why because I use the desktop app all the time. I'll have to look into that some more.
- Yahoo! Music - Really it's CBS Radio Music. I'm not certain how much LAUNCH there is left in LAUNCHcast. I should say that launchcast was way ahead of its time and was one of my favorite music things on the web. The only problem for me is that it was for PCs and not Macs. Always bogus.
Here are more Yahoo! Apps I'd like to see.
- Yahoo! Movies - I use Y! Movies all the time. Give me showtime, give me reviews, give me box office numbers and I'm good. Added bonus would be the ability to share a showtime with someone to get an agreement on a movie. And I'll forgive you if you put in ticket purchases.
- Yahoo! News - A pure news app. I think it's pretty straight forward as long as you bury the crap about Jon and Kate and The Hills or whatever. I want news. Local, National, World. Financial, Sports, Technology, Opinion, would be a bonus. Make it simple, use images only when necessary. Again, this has to be fast!
- Yahoo! Sports - Oh man this would be awesome! Scores, live game day action, video, news, team reports, etc. But I would actually take this one step deeper. I wouldn't do a single app for all sports, I'd do a separate app for single sports. NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, etc. That would kick ass. Focus!!
- Yahoo! Shopping - Search, quick price compare, ability to save the product to a list for later. Barcode reading, image recognition, etc. Buying links would take you to the merchant through the browser. It's about finding a product, finding a price, and saving it for later. Transactions are a bonus.
- Yahoo! Travel - I know a little about what's going on here, so I won't say anything, but check this out to see a peak at the direction. https://m.travel.yahoo.com/?_ym=1 (best viewed on an iphone of all things!
- Yahoo! Mail - The iphone mail app is pretty good. But Yahoo knows mail better than almost anyone. We should have our own app. It should be super fast and should try to avoid the Y! Mail embedded applications that seem to be showing up if possible. It should handle photos and video really well though.
- Yahoo! Local - c'mon! This has to be done. Yelp and Trip Ad visor are eating our lunch. This is the perfect platform for local content. I'll stop there because I'll get frustrated.
- Upcoming - Find events nearby, post content about that event during the event based on your location, add events to the service by taking photos of fliers.
- Yahoo! Games - Create a package of most popular games on Yahoo! games for people to play. Not focused, but very Yahoo. Then start breaking out and making (or commissioning) unique games for the iphone.
- Feed reader - I know we don't have one, but why not build one and marry it to My Yahoo or something. This could also be part of the news app. It could let you add your own sources or choose from a selection, etc.
There's a ton more ideas. But I'll end this now. I think a very important part of these apps would be the seamless integration with the real/live corresponding sites. The amazon app does a great job of this. Check it out. But these apps should provide lots of hooks back to the main site for later use. List creation, uploads, sharing of content, bookmarking to read later, etc. The site and the app should work seamlessly. This builds brand, engagement, and business.
It would be great if then Yahoo would take the app concept to the web site. So each vertical can be structured and developed like an app would. Focused, simple, effective, helpful, informative, convenient, fast. beepp!