My Web 2.0, By Yahoo!

It really is amazing how quickly concepts can spread. Tagging data (URLs, images, etc) has impressed a lot of people as a “better way” to organize content. Normally when having these types of discussions you point to del.icio.us, Flickr and more recently Technorati. Today a new, much larger, player is added to that list, Yahoo!. Their announcement about My Web 2.0 emphasizes that the reasoning behind this is to capitalize on the community knowledge behind allowing virtually anyone to tag websites. JeremY! has some thoughts on why this is important.

My first impression is that this looks pretty darn cool! Go start at http://myweb2.search.yahoo.com/ (assuming your have a Yahoo! account already) and simply do some searches on the web and start tagging them. You do this via the “Save” link for the site in the search results page. When you save a link it asks your for a description and tags, with the tags field providing suggestions (presumably from tags that other people are using). Permissions can be set to restrict this to just yourself, your community or everyone. Another feature I don’t remember seeing before is the “View as XML” link. It turns out that Yahoo! is identifying RSS/ATOM feeds and then providing a link. So if a site as the “View as XML” link on it in the search results, you know it has a feed. Nice to see search engines trying to divine what features sites have a do something with that knowledge.

You can import an existing list of links from IE, Yahoo! Bookmarks or and RSS feed. Although I haven’t tried it yet, I suspect you’ll be able to import your del.icio.us bookmarks into My Web 2.0 via the RSS import feature. There are some other features that you’d expect from this type of service, like the top 100 most popular sites and browsing by tags. Of course you can also search on just your own set of links. One thing I couldn’t find was way to see how many other people had saved the same URL. This is something that you can do in del.icio.us and it’s rather disappointing to see that left out here. So far that is the most obvious feature that is missing. I should note here that so far the site seems to respond very quickly, which is something that del.icio.us has had problems with, either being down or just extremely slow.

As JeremY! noted, they’ve exposed My Web 2.0 via the Yahoo Search API, which was a very smart move. In the future I’d like to see more this approach, where virtually every feature is exposed (to some degree) via an API that we can get our hands the same day a new feature is released. For now this trend is still pretty close to the bleeding edge, but as time goes on and things mature a bit more, companies that don’t provide APIs will be missing the boat in a major, major way.

It is my sincere hope that Yahoo!’s My Web 2.0 doesn’t get completely overrun by those trying to game and spam search engines. Although Google is still the number target for this type of “attack”, Yahoo! is a big enough player to attract the attention of those who would do evil in this regard. Since you need a Yahoo! account in order to use this feature the obvious spot to defend yourself is at the account creation process. Shore up your defenses Yahoo!, I’m sure the bad guys will be coming with a renewed effort.

The new My Web 2.0 looks impressive.

Wait a minute. I can’t find any way to syndicate my bookmarks (saved sites) via an RSS/ATOM feed? What is up with that? I can’t find any mention of it in the FAQ. Common guys, you covered so many other features on launch, how could you possibly leave that one out? I was about to mention how this was going to be a del.icio.us killer, but I doubt anyone will give up on it until they can get a feed of their links. Fix that and I’ll likely give up on del.icio.us and move to My Web 2.0.

In the meantime I’ll play with this a bit more and look at the API features to see what is possible.

UPDATE 2:30pm 29 Jun 2005: As Toby pointed out in the comments below, you can get a feed of your links via the API. Links for this should be plastered all over the place in My Web 2.0, tagging and feeds go hand in hand in many ways. Interesting, you don’t need a valid application id (appid) in the URL for it to work. So a feed for My Web 2.0 account looks like http://api.search.yahoo.com/MyWebService/rss/urlSearch.xml?appid=somestrangeid&yahooid=somestrangeid. You can get a feed for anyone that you have a Yahoo username for. I’m going to guess that permissions tie into this somehow, a link that I mark as private shouldn’t show up in public feed. Thanks for the pointer Toby.

3 Comments

  1. Just to confirm your last point – the API only deals with information marked public. Anything you mark as friends or private will not show up.

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