Monday, January 23, 2006

BusinessWeek on Yahoo's Social Circle

Ben Elgin at BusinessWeek writes about Yahoo's community and social software strategy. Some excerpts:
By cultivating online communities -- and encouraging people to tap into the collective knowledge of these groups -- Yahoo is hoping to change the way people find information online ... "social search"

All major engines analyze the link structure of the Web as a key ingredient in determining what pages are most relevant ... Social search aims to shift power from Web publishers, who create these links, to everyday Internet users by examining their bookmarks or giving them tools to express their opinions.

It sounds great, but there are plenty of skeptics. ... Some question whether enough Internet users will spend the time on these sites needed to make them effective ... Others doubt the wisdom of crowds will offer much of an upgrade over the feats of raw computing power. "It really adds very little value to what is available now," says Raul Valdes-Perez, CEO of Vivisimo ... "The best description of a document is the document itself."

Google's long-term bet remains on personalization -- using its mammoth computing horsepower to sort through data and better discern what users are thinking.
For more thoughts on tagging and social search, don't miss Danny Sullivan's old posts, "Tagging Not Likely The Killer Solution For Search" and "Yahoo My Web Tagging & Why (So Far) It Sucks".

See also my previous posts, "Yahoo gets social with MyWeb" and "Questioning tags".

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