Monday, December 05, 2011

The Problem With Yahoo

This is in continuum to my previous post on Yahoo and how it can enhance the customer experience.

Over a period of time, I have observed that most of my old contacts do not use their Yahoo IDs anymore. They are connected to me either through a social network or with a different email ID such as Gmail or Hotmail/Windows Live, etc. However, as a user who maintains the nostalgia of using Yahoo, and feeling that Yahoo is sitting on a goldmine of valuable services, which if implemented well, can improve the user experience much more and help the old users come back. On a personal note, I would like to see the following implemented.

Integration of Babelfish's capabilities into the Messenger 

Right from my earlier days of using Yahoo Messenger, I have been in constant interaction with people across the globe from all walks of life. Call it the initial curiosity to interact with people and involve in a cultural exchange, it was interesting for me as well as for several people of my generation. Most people with whom I had exchange of ideas spoke in different languages, belonged to different cultures and lived in different time zones, yet the experience I had was wonderful. 

Thus it was good news for many users like me when we came to know of Yahoo's acquisition of AltaVista's Babelfish. Little has changed since then except for the logo. Babelfish continues to be my choice for several translations, simply for the reason that it translates web pages in a better way than Google does. Multilingual communicators like me would have benefited lots if Yahoo! could integrate the services of Babelfish enabling users of multiple languages to interact via instant messages. None of the other instant messengers that I have used (including Google Talk) has this provision. 

Imply a customizable html version of email like Gmail has done
During the internet rush hours of the evening, opening emails at home is a time consuming task. However, Google's G-Mail identifies the speed of the internet and asks me if I would like to switch to the low-bandwidth version of the mail for quicker access. I went for it, and am quite happy doing so since I can access my mails without hassles. Even on the advanced version, G-mail gives users the option of switching to the low-bandwidth version, and even making the low-bandwidth version as a default view. I really wish Yahoo! could also do the same. 

Automate synchronization of contacts between email and Messenger 

The Yahoo messenger user name operates independent of the Yahoo! email. This makes the process of sending emails to my Messenger contacts, simply because their email addresses do not get updated to the list of contacts in my Yahoo mail.

To add to the complication, Yahoo provides a lot of localized emails to people in different countries. For example users in India can have emails with "" or "" or even simpler "" suffixes. Thus users in Philippines can have either a ".com" ID or a "" ID. This is similar with users in Brazil (.com or or Morocco (.com or .fr) and so on. Wouldn't it be really helpful if I just open my email and start writing to my friend in Brazil without worrying if the email address ends with a ".com" or a ".br"? Yahoo knows well. 

Yahoo's recent efforts make it possible for users to integrate their Yahoo accounts with Facebook accounts. Though this is a welcome move, I feel that if Yahoo could implement some simple but solid steps one at a time to improve user experience, and make it known to public using its Facebook page, a lot of users would be interested to come back.

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