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Yahoo is good?
added Mon January 19 2004 at 3:06 AM
Late-night reading often turns up the most interesting pages. Tonite, I've been reading articles from a site on usability. A lot of this is very interesting, and I've actually decided to make one or two changes to my site based on this reading. Most notably, I will remove all links that open new windows. Perhaps I'll explain that more fully another time.

At any rate, I digress (thus parting from usability tips, ironically). Among this interesting reading is a very extensive archive of old articles. Let me define old by pointing to an article written in June 1995. Part of the fun in reading old online articles is seeing how the internet has changed in the past decade. For instance, an article on why Yahoo is good lists a variety of reasons why Yahoo is (was) the most predominent search engine. The irony is that Yahoo isn't the most predominent search engine anymore. In case you haven't caught up with the constantly shifting tides of change, let me point out that Google clearly holds that title now.

To add to the irony, while reading the article, I noticed that many of the reasons why Yahoo was considered to be so good are many of the same reasons why Google is now the best. For instance, the ultra-fast download time that Google offers was once a feature of Yahoo. Now, however, Yahoo's graphic-rich layout takes much longer to load than Google's single graphic and text-entry box. I hope that Google doesn't follow the same path of over-reaching itself.

I do remember when I exclusively used Yahoo. If you deny that you ever did the same, then you are very new to the internet (doubtful), extremely elitist ("I only use xx-brand obscure search engine"), or an outright liar. Yahoo was the king of the hill for a very long time. It still is the king if you're looking for a variety of rich content (music, yellow pages, personal ads, news, etc ad nauseum). On the other hand, if you're looking for quick answers to lifes perplexing problems (What the heck are ordinates and abscissas?) or are trying to find a specific website, then Google it.

It would seem that most people tend to agree with me. I looked at my server stats and found that there were twice as many hits from Google as from Yahoo. Of course, this is grossly skewed by the fact that Yahoo is traditionally a system that you have to sign up for and Google spiders the web, hence Google is more likely to find my site. On the other hand, most people either know exactly where to find the answers they need (and go straight to the source) or are trolling the web for input from as many people as possible. Google easily facillitates this.

Two examples from my own statistics page support the concept of people needing content from random places in order to get a fair treatment of the subject. The single most common search that people click through to my site is "hypercondriac." When you search for this easy mis-spelling of hypochondriac, you get two results from my page at the very top of the Google search. The first result is a piece I wrote on my own hypochondria, the second was my correction of the spelling. This is the kind of information you won't find on any official site... not only does this information cater to those who spelled the word wrong (not going to happen on an official site), it also gives the correct spelling of the word.

The second example of why it is sometimes desirable to get the back-water results instead of the corporate results demonstrates that the back-water tends to be more open, and often honest than the corporate cover. If you search for sturner and klein, you can obviously expect to get a lot of resume's and probably an official site for the company, but will these get an honest look at how horrible it is to work in telemarketing? Probably not. Google, on the other hand, has an increased probability of getting a site like mine, where I tell how much I despised working at a telemarketing agency.

I just mad the mistake of looking at the time, and am suddenly extremely tired. No witty ending tonite, I'm going to bed.
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