Google Toolbar Turning Homepage into Google’s My Yahoo
The Google (RSS) Reader, which I like, has met with mixed reviews and limited adoption (so far). Far more successful as a personalized home page and RSS reader is MyYahoo. (My belief, however, is that Yahoo! has yet to fully leverage the potential of MyYahoo!.)
Google’s IE Toolbar has the capacity to be an RSS reader (via buttons) and Google’s Personalized Homepage (GPH) and Sidebar also have RSS capabilities.
However, the new Firefox toolbar offers something really interesting. Among other things, there’s an RSS feed subscription button. So when a user is on a blog or site that offers a feed, that button is highlighted and offers the option to receive the feed. The pull-down menu from the button offers a choice of feed readers, but the default choice is the Google Homepage. (If you don’t have an account, it will prompt you to establish one.)
The feeds then appear on the GPH. The point here is that it’s very simple to add feeds and manipulate their placement on the page (thanks to Ajax, which MyYahoo offers as well). This fact, plus a growing library of content feeds is starting to make Google’s PH a more viable rival to MyYahoo!
There are still a number of features and capabilities that MyYahoo! has that Google does not have, like calendaring and subsequent pages. But Google is bringing together its toolbar, desktop search, search history and PH in ways that make them work very nicely together and may create an “invisible walled garden” that de facto locks people in to their use.
Greg Sterling is an independent media analyst who covers Local Search and the relationship between traditional and online media.