Yahoo has undergone a good amount of restructuring over the past years, in part due to internal roadblocks & financial reasons, and also because of the adoption of social media.
With its integration of social offerings such as Flickr and Yahoo Answers into the lives of its registered userbase, Yahoo has become more of a social network of sorts, a social network based upon the sharing of experience.
To help reflect their change, and future direction, Jeff Weiner, the Executuive Vice President of the Yahoo! Network Division, has announced that Yahoo has introduced a new company mission statement:
To connect people to their passions, communities, and the world’s knowledge.
I thought it would be interesting to compare Yahoo’s mission statement with that of Google’s:
- Yahoo! : To connect people to their passions, communities, and the world’s knowledge.
- Google : To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Sure, Yahoo’s new mission clearly differentiates its path from Google’s with Yahoo’s emphasis on the user life experience and emotions, with the terms connect, people, passions, communities.
However, I believe that such a difference is quite evident, as Google has taken a different approach of connecting its users to Google search as its core, rather than to each other, like a network operates; hence Google’s success in search.
The main difference is the use of the two terms knowledge and information.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the two terms as follows:
- Knowledge : a (1) : the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association (2) : acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique b (1) : the fact or condition of being aware of something (2) : the range of one’s information or understanding
- Information : a (1) : knowledge obtained from investigation, study, or instruction (2) : INTELLIGENCE, NEWS (3) : FACTS, DATA b : the attribute inherent in and communicated by one of two or more alternative sequences or arrangements of something (as nucleotides in DNA or binary digits in a computer program) that produce specific effects c (1) : a signal or character (as in a communication system or computer) representing data (2) : something (as a message, experimental data, or a picture) which justifies change in a construct (as a plan or theory) that represents physical or mental experience or another construct d : a quantitative measure of the content of information; specifically : a numerical quantity that measures the uncertainty in the outcome of an experiment to be performed
Interesting choice of words here and again, quite reflective of the difference between these two companies,
- Yahoo! : Providing knowledge obtained via personal experience, association, awareness and understanding. (Answers, Del.icio.us, Flickr, Inclusion)
- Google : Providing information obtained via investigation, study, data, measurement and numerical quantities. (PageRank, Algortihm, Link Measurement, Profiling)
Two very different and exciting directions from these two companies, makes you wonder who will win in the end? Man or machine?