Google and Yahoo are two of the biggest tech firms around. They service millions of users everyday with products ranging from email and search to video and news. In 2013, they also became some of the most hated companies in tech.
People hate change. Yahoo and Google tried to implement some changes into their flagship products and in the process made just about everybody super angry with them. In the spirit of the impending new year, we should take a look at who had it worse and what both companies can do to fix it.
What did you hate more in 2013 - Yahoo Mail or YouTube comments? Let us know in the comments.
Yahoo's troubles began in June when it forced users over to a new Yahoo Mail that delivered ads based on the content of their emails. While it seemed like a simple upgrade, many users were stuck with countless errors and bugs that made Yahoo Mail unusable for some users. In fact, our first story on the matter attracted over 700 comments - most of them angry.
While you could easily dismiss the problems plaguing Yahoo Mail as something that happens to all upgraded services, it became evident over the next six months that this wasn't a simple problem. Yahoo continued to see complaints a month after users were forced to switch to the new Yahoo Mail with many users saying they were jumping ship. One in particular said they would be fine if Yahoo Mail actually let them opt out of receiving ads, but found that the process wasn't as easy as it seemed:
“Also, though there is a supposed procedure available for users to opt-out of receiving ads; when I tried to opt-out of all advertising, it did not work correctly, and gave me a message something like: You have successfully opted out of receiving ads from 84 providers, but the process failed with these 16 companies”
In an attempt to smooth things over, Yahoo introduced a new Yahoo Mail design in October to address many of the problems users were having. They also threw in 1TB of storage as a sign of good faith. As it turns out, however, you can't make everybody happy and the changes that made Yahoo Mail look more like Gmail angered people even more. Case in point - our story on the Yahoo Mail update received over 450 comments and most were negative again.
Putting the final nail in the coffin, Yahoo Mail suffered continued outages earlier this month that left many people without any way to access their messages. Yahoo blamed the outages on a "hardware problem in one of [their] mail data centers." With this latest outage, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer got involved and issued an apology on behalf of the entire company.
Now all that sounds bad, but is it bad as what YouTube did to its commenting system earlier this year?
Back in September, YouTube announced that it was integrating Google+ into YouTube comments in an attempt to clean things up. The intended goal was to bring the good comments to the top while pushing what you usually see on YouTube to the bottom. It's a good idea, but the path to hell is paved with good intentions.
In early November, the new YouTube comments went live and with it, users were forced to sign up for Google+. Google figured that people would be a little less vulgar if their real names were tied to comments, but Google may have not anticipated how much people hate Google+. It's not that it's a bad service - it's just that many people feel that nobody uses it. YouTube creators were especially angry with the change as they felt the new commenting system harmed the community interaction with their videos.
While you could argue either way on the merit of requiring a Google+ account to comment on YouTube videos, you can't deny that it opened up an entirely new way to spam YouTube videos. While the original intended goal of the new system was to cut down on spam, we saw in the days following the update that users were spamming videos with ASCII art of a stick man named Bob and his army of tanks and helicopters devoted to destroying the new comments system.
Just like Yahoo, Google was quick to respond to the complaints. In the two weeks after the new commenting system went live, Google introduced some changes that would cut down on the amount of spam links, ASCII art and other annoying comments that people were seeing. It also promised to soon launch comment curation tools for creators so they could help better shape conversations.
Even with the changes, YouTube still requires a Google+ account to comment on videos. That obviously rubs some people the wrong way and it will continue to do so in the new year.
With both tales of woe out of the way, which was worse - Yahoo Mail or YouTube comments? If we're going strictly by the amount of negative comments, Yahoo Mail easily takes the cake. Granted, Yahoo Mail has had more time to anger users with its rollout beginning in June while the new YouTube comments only launched in November.
Without any good metric, we're forced to let the readers decide. Were you angered more by Yahoo Mail or YouTube comments this year? Do you see any way that Yahoo and Google could improve their services going into 2014? Let us know in the comments.
Image via yahoo/YouTube