I’ve never been much a fan of Yahoo. They’re pages often seemed bloated and the services not worth the time. A big thing that prevented it from being worthwhile was the disjointedness of the services themselves. You would log in and then could go to the various services and do what you needed but the services were flat since they didn’t really take advantage of each other.

I’m not sure if they just hired the right people, finally found the right backend or what but I think they are finally turning it around. Two recent examples are Yahoo Travel and the new Yahoo Maps. Yahoo Travel takes advantage of user ratings, user pictures, weather along with many other services. The big surprise is that all the information looks like it belongs and really helps the experience. In the old yahoo I remember it would have likely been links to canned searches in the other services, etc. Very nice work now. The new maps is a similar story using local information, traffic reports, etc. They also released API’s for each individual service which makes me almost think there are backend changes going on to allow this sudden change in integration.

This reminds me a lot of the current online presence of many libraries. A library homepage here, OPAC there, electronic resources somewhere, etc. The services are disjointed and become confusing. I deal with quite a few patrons that just don’t know where to look and I don’t blame them. This landscape is changing though as more and more vendors come out with decent APIs and backends or someone hacks a way around limitations. I’m liking what I see in many redesigns and hope for more improvement in the future. Getting something seamless though will likely require a large undertaking and perhaps a complete backend rehaul. Here’s hoping we find a way.