Over the last couple weeks I have been trying to completely figure out Yahoo's recent offerings with Yahoo 360, Yahoo Photos and the beta version of Yahoo Mail. One is a complete success, one is an abject failure, and the other is a distinct possibility.
Let's start from worst to best.
Yahoo Mail new beta version
I've been using Yahoo Mail since 1998 and never switched to another webmail provider as I was so happy with Yahoo (even Gmail was no temptation) Recently, I was lured to switch to their new version which is still in beta. The goal with the new software is admirable - to allow desktop application like functionality. You can click and drag things and use keyboard shortcuts. However, the integration with the calendar is gone. Also, I had to remove all my second email address and nicknames for contacts as it listed them all as unique contacts resulting in really long contact lists. Also, I had to get their intro page with celebrity gossip news front and center before I could get into my email (I did find out very fast about Britney & K-Fed but that's not a good thing). But the worst, was just how slow it was - slow to long into, slow to load an email, slow to move from one thing to another. I was glad they allowed me the option to switch back, which I gleefully did about an hour ago.
This is Yahoo's attempt to compete with MySpace. It's social networking and self-obessed publishing gone mad with its network of friends and groups (Yahoo Groups which has been useful for years now is better integrated), lists of useless things, music, photos, calendars, blogs and feeds. I started a blog for my daughter through this. Yahoo 360's blogging tool is very easy to use but doesn't allow the same degree of customization, tinkering, or management as Blogger. While I like the idea of integrating with various Yahoo service (many of which we were already using) I find the social networking aspects less useful and cool than a package that combines all my stuff in one place. Specifically, I want My Briefcase (online file storage) contacts and non-Yahoo blogs to be added. My Yahoo a customizable webpage that allows easy addition of syndicated content and offers the potential to integrate my calendar, email and Briefcase but doesnt' seem to ever work and it doesn't get into blogs or photos. But I do love that the Yahoo avatar I created a year ago now can be seen by everyone!
Here's my Yahoo 360 page
Okay, I'm not into tagging my photos so flikr is out (even though it was once Canadian and now owned by Yahoo). I just want to be able to easily upload my photos and share them with friends and family. Before the recent changes to Yahoo Photos uploading was rather painful as was organizing and naming the photos. Now they have software to download to your computer that not only makes uploading quite fast but also really simple. Just select the photos on your computer you want to upload and drag them to tool. Editing and organizing photos can be done like desktop software (via their editing area called the "tray" without having to wait for calls back and forth to the server or waiting for big pictures to load on their own page. They did make changing the setting from private (the default) to public rather difficult. But they also made sharing photos with friends who are also using Yahoo Photos pictures very easy. And they are allowing a lot of storage completely free so I'm really happy.
Take a look at my Yahoo Photos full of tons of photos of my kid of course.
Yahoo has dived into Web 2.0 big-time with all its pros and cons. Overall, I'm still going to be sticking it out with Yahoo.