Could Google Work Yahoo-Style?

By Nathan Weinberg

Steve Bryant went and basically redesigned the Yahoo homepage as if it were created by Google filled with Google services, and instead of being a jab at either company, it looks great. Some people in his comments are even saying Google should hire him (which is hilarious, since it’s Yahoo’s design with text and some image editing), and he made me realize two things:

  • #1: I wish Google had a page like this. I wouldn’t use it all the time, but it could be really useful for when I need to quickly access a Google service. Right there on the page is direct access to Google Reader, Gmail and Google Calendar, three services I could use, but never really have the time for. I know Google’s personalized homepage can basically embed a Gadget for these services, but it never works well in my browser, and takes too damn long to load. Plus, I have no interest in laying out my own Google homepage; I thought that was why companies pay for UI designers?
  • #2: I have a newfound respect for Yahoo’s homepage. I hadn’t realized they were doing some cool things with a dynamic page, and it loads plenty faster than I expected it to. The only reason I’d rather the Google version of the Yahoo homepage over the original is that Yahoo hasn’t put anything there I want. The eight tabbed boxes taking up the meat of the page are news boxes, and I’m a news junkie, which means that everything already there I already know, or will be getting from a better source. Steve’s version puts services front and center, and that makes it far superior.

Now, no one wants Google.com to get complicated and crazy, but I think putting a page like this at home.google.com would satisfy a lot of people, myself included. Google could even base it on Google Gadgets, but put the interests of the UI designer first, because that’s what many users want. Google doesn’t need to go all Yahoo on us, but I’ve been waiting for them to offer something compelling for the typical Yahoo user.

There is one Google property that appeals to a Yahoo-type user, though, but it’s called YouTube. Not Invented Here, right?

Posted:
January 12, 2007 by Nathan Weinberg in:
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5 Responses to “Could Google Work Yahoo-Style?”

  1. Joe Says:

    http://www.britishairways.com/travel/jan07woffers/public/en_gb?source=woffers_jan07_banner

    FYI - BA and Google Earth in advertising…

  2. Kevin Ruston Says:

    Three words: Google Personalised Homepage. Who wants some designers idea of what content I should be reading? There’s a place for Yahoo’s portal homepage, but surely someone with the needs you outline is better off with a personalised homepage like Google provides. Get a new browser if your serious about being a news junkie.

    It couldn’t be easier to set up. Choose your google gadgets, feeds on your own topics and use the excellent Google Reader plugin.

    Wake up and smell the personalised coffee already!

    ;-)

  3. Kevin Ruston Says:

    BTW - What browser are you using? If it’s Safari on a Mac - try Camino, which works fine with Google Personalised homepage.

  4. joe Says:

    kind of concerning #1, be aware that several months ago Google updated their Accounts page
    https://www.google.com/accounts/ManageAccount to list all your available services, although it doesn’t allow you to “peek inside” any services without leaving that page.

  5. Nathan Weinberg Says:

    The personalized homepage doesn’t have the slickness and polish of the mockup. While it is enormously extensible, and yes, one of Google’s best products, it isn’t for everyone, including people who don’t want to personalize their homepage. There are some great things about the personalized homepage, but I’d be more likely to use something more like the mockup. Hell, I’d be more likely to personalize it!

    As for the browser, it’s Opera on Windows. Their support is getting better (the page seems to render right) but there’s too many problems for daily use, like the broken Gadget dragging.

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