Email & IM Integration: Yahoo! or Yawnhoo?

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Yahoo has announced the integration of Yahoo Mail with Yahoo instant messenger. This new functionality of Yahoo messenger will apparently make it possible to send and receive instant messages right from your Yahoo Mail (beta) interface.

Email & IM Integration: Yahoo! or Yawnhoo?
Does Yahoo’s Integration Project Impress?

John Kremer, VP of Yahoo Mail says; "By bringing Yahoo!’s leading instant messaging capabilities to e-mail users, we’re transforming Yahoo! Mail into a tool that’s about communicating; regardless of the form that communication takes."

Gee, that’s one way of looking at it. Another way to look at it might be to say… by bringing Yahoo instant messenger capabilities to e-mail users you’re (finally) transforming Yahoo! Mail (beta) into the same thing Google gave us with Gmail & Gtalk about… what? 2 years ago?

Am I really supposed to be excited and hype a press release about Yahoo launching something that’s been around for a couple of years? Should I look forward to a Microsoft announcement of their own groundbreaking-ly identical upgrade whenever they get around to it?

The thing is… the whole ‘me-too’ announcement, launch and/or press release are just pet peeves of mine. Personally, I find them almost embarrassing. Particularly when they are so far removed from whatever they’re echoing that the first feeling you have is actually surprise that the announcer wasn’t already doing whatever it was it by now.

If you aren’t first to market with a neat, super handy innovation but you manage to roll yours out within a few months of the original, then yeah… I can see a press release. The ‘me-too’ announcement that follows close on the heels of your competitor’s can also be referred to as the ‘oh, there they are’ announcement. That is the announcement your users were looking for. It was expected all along and they knew you’d get there sooner or later. There isn’t really any shame in that one… well, not as much anyway. There’s a limited window of opportunity on the ‘oh, there they are’ announcement though. And it’s waaaay shorter than 2 years.

Where’s the ‘!’ in Yahoo?

As I’m writing this I have suddenly realized what started out as a simple announcement about a new Yahoo service, has transformed into a full-on rant. It wasn’t a conscious effort, I promise.

True, I find the ‘me-too’ announcement annoying – as we’ve established. That alone doesn’t explain all this though. I’m sad for Yahoo. They’ve disappointed me. As I’ve worked in this industry over the past 7 years I have grown further and further from Yahoo. What happened? Where did the love go? I’m sorry Yahoo… you just don’t feel exciting anymore. It’s like you were never really the same after the GeoCities mess somehow.

The last cool thing Yahoo did was to grab Flickr. Since then, they’ve watched Google snatch up YouTube, spun their wheels on Facebook, and took us for a bumpy ride through the revamp of their ad platform. Sure they managed to acquire MyBlogLog, but the jury is still out on that one. It might become a powerful marketing medium, or just another $10 million dollar nifty social media tool.

The mobile relationships with LGSamsung and Nokia are all promising. They hardly qualify as ‘!’ worthy though. No water cooler talk there. Come on Yahoo. I still think you’ve got it in you somewhere. I can get over this whole email/IM thing. Just don’t make it a habit. You’re better than that.

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Email & IM Integration: Yahoo! or Yawnhoo?
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