Today, whether you wanted it or not (most likely you don’t care and will never use it), yahoo unveiled their brand new profile system (called Pulse). Again. Here’s a short history of yahoo profiles:
IN THE BEGINNING: yahoo profiles was good and useful and made it possible to talk to people with similar interests
A long time ago: they release yahoo 360 to co-exist with profiles, which is also good, but can’t do date arithmetic spanning years.
A year or two later: they decide 360 is rubbish and to convince the rest of us it is rubbish some phantom bugs magically appear. They announce there will be a replacement. Generally content userbase is mystified.
2007ish: 360 decays but it’s okay because yahoo unveil Yahoo Mash, the great replacement. A few people sign up and find out you can edit other people’s profiles. Nobody knows why.
Slightly later 2007ish: Nobody uses Mash and it is shut down for obvious reasons: it’s pointless and stupid. Yahoo deny that Mash was ever intended to be the replacement, which is in the pipeline and coming soon! Nobody believes them.
Late 2007ish: 360’s accumulated bugs and service outages make it unusable. Replacement coming soon! we’re promised. Yahoo starts to look a bit like the Duke Nukem Forever team. Everyone moves to somewhere else.
Late 2008: New profiles arrives at least a year overdue with absolutely no features whatever. Looks like something a 19 year old php novice could build in a weekend. Generally disgruntled userbase is mystified. Again.
Mid 2009: They finally close 360 and shunt everyone onto the still featureless, useless and overall pointless new profiles, which also can’t do date arithmetic. Massive outcry on yahoo profiles blog, clueless PR person insults unhappy userbase by telling them they’re wrong and they really do actually want the new profiles instead
Slightly later 2009: yahoo changes profiles so that it shows your ‘updates’ instead of your profile as the main part of the page. Outcry on yahoo profiles blog as it no longer does what it’s meant to do, clueless PR person insults dwindling userbase by telling them they’re wrong .
Late 2009: clueless PR person continues seeing opposition to all her “improvement” announcements so she adopts a different approach and disables comments so nobody can complain anymore. The blog stagnates and ironically the most recent entry is called “share your opinion more easily”.
Today: yahoo unviels a total clusterfuck of a user interface to replace the old-new profiles “we’ve got it right this time, we promise!”. Time will tell whether it can do date arithmetic, unless they shut it down in a few months and move everyone onto something else (or finally just give up). It’s not like they’d do that though; yahoo has a long history of providing quality and stable services to its users and listening to their wants and needs and definitely not changing everything on a whim.
As for the new profile system, as far as I can tell the big new feature is that it somehow links with Facebook, but as I don’t use Facebook, it’s not very interesting. Yahoo has been trying to clone Facebook since Mash. It made some sense back then but I don’t understand their current obsession to be quite honest. Facebook is no longer the next big thing, it’s got about as big as it’s going to get. But I think now people are generally coming around to the idea that
1) being easily contactable by everyone all the time is initially a novelty then it becomes kind of overwhelming then it just turns into stress…
2) it’s impossible to form or maintain friendships by clicking a few buttons, and anyone who has tried social networking not knowing how people use it in advance knows it is depressingly hollow
it’s not going to get any new users because people who don’t already know what it’s about have weird preconceptions of it formed by stupid newspaper reports.. my dad recently asked me for example… “how do I check that nobody has put me on facebook?”, because according to the warped non-technology media reporting, Facebook is some kind of evil organisation which hoards details of everyone in the entire world against their knowledge or consent.
it’s living off borrowed time from the fact it got so fecking huge, but it’s downhill all the way from here. And so is yahoo.