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Yahoo MyWeb 2.0 – Personal and Social Search Collide

Yahoo MyWeb 2.0 – Personal and Social Search Collide

The MyWeb upgrade from the original Yahoo! MySearch was a great improvement, allowing users to save and annotate Web pages. I have been using this for months and love it.

Today Yahoo! further upgraded the offering (MyWeb 2.0) and made it possible to share that saved information and see what others have searched for and collected (under the same folders/tags/terms). Accordingly, it adds a dynamic (and potentially sticky) community layer to Web search personalization (it’s a better version of Eurekster).

But how does this integrate (or not) with Yahoo!’s meta-community effort, Yahoo! 360?

Google upgraded its own personalization capability today as well. Google personalization seeks to use a searcher’s history to deliver more relevant results in the future—very Amazon-like indeed. We’ll see if over time it delivers on the promise of more relevant results (and of course more targeted AdWords).

Back to MyWeb 2.0.: Yahoo! has replaced the folder system with tagging (ala Flickr) and made the entire application broader, clearly with provocative potential. Personal gripe: the changes seem to have rendered my repository of Web docs somewhat less useful. Tonight I’m unable to access some of the cached pages and, generally, it takes more clicks to get to them.

These are bugs that will hopefully be worked out. But I hope they’re not taking a very effective tool and turning it into something too ambitious (360 seems a little that way.)

Comparing Yahoo!’s product and Google’s, they’re two different approaches to personalization (putting aside Yahoo!’s social search capability in MyWeb 2.0). Yahoo!’s is more “transparent” and requires more effort from the user; Google’s is more “passive” and thus somewhat more “opaque” to the user. A user may be generally aware that Google is tracking and adjusting search results according to his or her personal search history, but lose that awareness on day 2.

Then again, the less effort on the part of users—the more “passive” the approach—the broader the potential adoption and use.

The reaction to this may be: a) positive, b) blase (as with Amazon’s “recommendations”) or c) alarm. Privacy has become an issue once again for consumers and Google’s size and success have made it more anonymous (ironically) and more ominous to some.

It’s only Tuesday; I don’t think I can keep up with the pace of these rollouts—I’ve got announcement fatigue.

Greg Sterling is managing editor of The Kelsey Group. He also leads The Kelsey Group’s the Interactive Local Media program, focusing on local search. Greg came to The Kelsey Group from TechTV’s “Working the Web,” the first national television show dedicated to e-business and the Internet.

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Yahoo MyWeb 2.0 – Personal and Social Search Collide

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