Yahoo 360 revisited

December 10, 2005

Early in the year, I wrote up my initial impressions of the newly-released Yahoo 360, which I was excited by at the time. I’ve been thinking that it’s time for an update after 8 months or so.

Within a couple weeks of 360 starting, the main thing that my friends were using it for was blasts. Now, almost the only thing my friends seem to be using it for is to point to their real blogs — which I read anyway — or lame feeds, which I don’t want to read. I couldn’t care less about yet another source for people’s Technorati searches, Flickr photostreams, Delicious folders, or (god help us) ESPN articles about the NFL — and the way 360 displays feeds is truly horrible anyway (the first 50 words or so without any formatting). So Yahoo 360 has essentially become an attractively-designed but totally unfunctional RSS feed aggregator for me. (I realize that your mileage may vary, because I’m guessing I have an unusually high proportion of friends with non-360 blogs who were interested in using the feed import feature.)

The 360 team also recently did something that especially irked me: without my consent, they made it possible for all my Yahoo Messenger contacts to see my 360 content via their underexplained “Favorites” program. Dudes… I have business contacts in my YM list! I can’t figure out how to stop seeing their feeds, or how to make it so they can’t see my content, or even how to preview my page as a Favorite so I can see what they’re seeing. I understand that Yahoo wants to grow the 360 userbase, and YM integration might seem like a good idea… but I ended up feeling like Yahoo is putting their business interests over my privacy interests, not to put too fine a point on it. It’s ironic that they’d do this after spending so much time building such a complicated and fine-grained system for controlling access to the network.

The one thing 360 seems unusually good at — visual design and CSS — is something that Yahoo traditionally doesn’t value as much as they should. The 360 layout has always won praise for its clean but updated look; and the homepage skin system is actually pretty sweet. If it were me, I’d try to play to my strength in these areas: for instance, letting users show and hide various parts of the page via CSS; or letting the team actually work on a real web-based RSS reader that doesn’t suck; or having a decent YM interface from 360 (e.g. not a popup alert saying “ymsgr is not a registered protocol”).

Maybe I’m just grumpy because I’m not seeing new features, and some longstanding “bugs” seem to not be getting fixed (e.g. replying to blasts via pseudo-email) and my personal 360 experience has devolved due to my lame friends and their dumb RSS feeds. I’m ready and eager for the 360 team to prove me wrong… but in the meantime, can you just roll back the YM Favorites thing please?

7 Responses to “Yahoo 360 revisited”

  1. Stevo Says:

    I definitely don’t like the weird give us your contact info emails these things send out. I don’t know if it’s a reminder email or the people actually sent it out. Plus something doesn’t seem right that I have to do all this work for YOU.

  2. neal Says:

    “or how to make it so they can’t see my content”

    They can’t see your content. It’s a subscription!

  3. Missy Angel Says:

    To stop people you don’t want from seeing your content play with your privacy settings as I have done.You can have one group of friends see your blog and others not
    Use your My Page link to play with the settings it does have “favorites” as an option

    As for the feeds bypass them by pressing the “view all” link on your home page and selecting the content you want from the drop down box
    The rest of 360 is great now apart from feeds I do agree with you there and they are looking into that.Feeds can be set as private ask your friends to set them as such then only they can see them and you won’t get annoyed
    The generic Invites,they are new you used to be able to send out personalised ones I send people a short message after an invite as my personalised invite now
    Hope this comment acually works and hope I have helped you in some way

  4. Nick Says:

    I couldn’t agree more about the RSS feeds. It really irks me to go to my ‘360 home’ and see the same headline 6 times in a row. I also don’t like the integration of YM. If I wanted them on my list, I’d of invited them.

  5. tx_ez_rideher Says:

    First…I understand and agree with the complaints. What I have a problem with is people geting SOOOO bent out of shape with a FREE service. Keep in mind that Yahoo, like thousands or millions of other services on the internet, only exist for one reason. MONEY And you’d be an absolute fool to expect anything different. It’s like the rides at the local theme park. Ride at your own risk. If you would allow your 5yr old child to ride anything in the park just because you paid at the gate…then you should not be allowed to procreate. Have fun. Check it out BEFORE you get involved. And if you didn’t pay for it, accept it for what it is. Yahoo offered it for free. You decided to “play” with it. You can just as well decide to NOT “play” with it. Take responsability for your own actions and quit trying to pass the blame on to others.

  6. cjs Says:

    I’m a big fan of Yahoo! 360. Their page design is clear and uncluttered. I also tend to use Yahoo! for a bunch of the services they offer, mail, news, etc. so I find it to be one stop shopping.

    One of the benefits of 360 is that the security settings they provide – there are access lists for a variety of “friends.” You should be able to get the right access lists if you get more involved with the site.

  7. Rick Johnston Says:

    What does “ymsgr is not a registered protocol” mean?


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