I don’t agree with Michael who says OpenSocial is poised to change Google entirely. Google needs to show that advertising through OpenSocial beats all its other ad revenue streams before we can assert that OpenSocial changed Google as a company. It will take a while before it gets there, if at all.
I agree Yahoo seems to be fumbling around, trying to find the “next killer thing” that will make it hot again. But I don’t think its lack of strategy. Yahoo probably has enough talent to come up with the ideas. But in the recent times Yahoo has had a lot of internal churn, politics and management change. That is not really the best environment where bold new strategies are going to be executed. I would guess that, with all the politics that must be going on, it would be hard to advance clever ideas and there might be a tendency to take less risk. Google on the other hand has a stable management which is most likely in agreement on the path to the future.
Yahoo has become boring lately. It needs some “magic” to turn around – Yahoo Mail and MyYahoo don’t have the coolness factor of GMail and iGoogle.
What would I do if I was Yahoo?
I would not focus on individual “features” like profile pages. I would take various aspects of “social” – messages (email, IM), micro-blogs (twits), photos, video, audio (music, voicemail, but twitter-gram style), profiles, contact database – and bring it together in Yahoo Mail “platform”. Y!Mail after is the biggest property for Yahoo. Why stop with integrating IM with Mail? Make Y!M the one place for me to go to to exchange any type of content with those I want to communicate with. Make it dead simple to send (share) video to my friends and family, make it easy to leave a voice message to my friend if he is not online and so on, integrate uploading photos to Flickr and sending a mail to my family (remember, most of my family hasn’t caught on to getting notified through feeds, I still have to email them that I have uploaded some photos). Make it ad free for paid subscribers. I am so used to Yahoo Mail that I would love to see many of my other activities get integrated into that experience.
I would gladly pay for that kind of integration.