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Yahoo and Google launching social networking sites–too little too late?



The social network scene got a little hotter and a little more crowded today.  TechCrunch broke the story on Yahoo’s Mosh today:

Here?s a juicy tip – we?ve been hearing about a new Yahoo social network initiative called Mosh, which is at mosh.yahoo.com but can only be accessed from inside the Yahoo offices. If you happen to be using the guest wifi at Yahoo, you should be able to access the site, although this may be shut down soon.

It?s likely this would replace Yahoo?s 360 social network service, which has never really gotten traction. The existence of Yahoo Mosh also most likely puts a bullet in any further speculation that they are in acquisition talks with Bebo, a somewhat unsubstantiated rumor from May. Last year Yahoo made a serious effort at acquiring Facebook but the deal was never closed.

Followed soon afterward with Yahoo Mash screenshots:


As I was reading my feeds and doing my obligatory check of Techmeme, I saw that John Battelle connected the dots by pointing to the announcement of Google’s Socialstream.

Nifty, two more big players trying to get into social networking after their own SocNet properties flopped.  The question will be is this too little too late.  Yahoo missed the chance to get Facebook, so it’s working on something to replace Yahoo!360 (remember when we were all begging for invites to that?).

Google is, wisely, taking a different approach.  They want to be the SocNet  connector, something sorely needed, IMHO.  Will it work?  Can there be The One Ring to Rule Them All (remember whose ring that was, BTW, the Dark Lord himself)?

I think Yahoo is going to have very hard time gaining traction, Google, on the other hand, just has to build excellent applications of the various SocNet APIs out there.  Which do you think you’ll use?

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  • Joseph Dunphy

    So far, this story is nothing more than speculation, as far as I can tell. Going back to the original story, one finds no evidence offered to back up the suspicion that Yahoo is going to shut down 360, and no claim that any evidence was seen by the author.

    Perhaps most foolishly, though, Yahoo does not seem to be responding to this rumor. This has had bad effects on morale over on Yahoo 360, where users are unlikely to forget the unpleasant surprise Yahoo inflicted on the users of Yahoo! Photos. (Anybody who was away from the service for a few months is likely to find that all of his or her work has gone to waste, as Yahoo! Photos is being shut down, with a narrow window of opportunity left open for transferring one’s photos to flickr). Yahoo’s attitude seems to be “ignore the troublemakers, our users will just trust us”, not appreciating just how much trust they’ve already squandered. We aren’t going to simply assume the best of them.

    If this really is going to happen, then some real anger is going to come Yahoo’s way, much more from others than from myself. Many are deeply invested there, having put real time and work into their blogs, so much so that cutting and pasting posts for rearchiving (there, coined a word) elsewhere is going to be a major project in its own right. If all of that is on the verge of going to waste because some suit in Sunnyvale decides that he wants to do a do-over and doesn’t care about the hardship he’s going to work on the users, I think that he will find that the users are more intelligent than he gives them credit for being. Such a move would produce a mass outmigration from Yahoo’s services to those of a competitor without a history of springing such surprises on its users, such as … ahem … Google.

    Aka the company likeliest to scarf down Yahoo someday. I’m hoping that doesn’t happen. I think that real competition between services serves the users best, but for there to be real competition, the companies involved have to be willing to actually compete. There is nothing competitive about a company that needlessly antagonizes its user base, just so its management can swagger. Let’s hope that Yahoo isn’t choosing to become such a company.

  • Joseph Dunphy

    I wrote:

    “So far, this story is nothing more than speculation, as far as I can tell.”

    True at the time, but a little more reading turned up another report, mentioned on the blog entry I’ve linked to. Hope I’m not being a pest by following up on myself, but I’d hate to be a source of false reassurance, however unintentionally.

    Techcrunch could be making up its facts, for all I know, but what is being alleged would bode ill for the future of 360, and Yahoo is still refusing to respond to the rumors, even after being asked about them by a lot of users. Certainly, if a senior VP at Yahoo said that 360 should be viewed as a target for a redundacy elimination, that’s something that a 360 user needs to consider.

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