Update, 10:09 a.m. PST: After reading my original column (see below), Yahoo representatives asked to discuss with me the current and future strategy Yahoo has embarked on. And while I was skeptical of where the company is going and I still think there is considerable work that needs to be done, I'm happy to report that after speaking with the Yahoo folks, it looks like the company has it together. (For starters, it has an iPhone-specific Web page.)
According to Yahoo, it's currently working on bringing that iPhone Web app to the Net, and as the company has pointed out, its integration with the iPhone on weather, stocks, and even mail has helped it parlay that experience into exciting new Yahoo products on the horizon. Obviously I can't get into some of the services that were discussed (and neither can Yahoo), but let me say that this company seems to have its head on straight and should be pretty well equipped to get in on the iPhone Web app game.
Now, I know some folks were a bit upset with the title of this piece (same as the current one, but without the "Yes!") because obviously Yahoo knows there's an iPhone, but the real intent was to highlight the issues that I have seen in Yahoo's mobile strategy and my belief that it has ignored the online side of the iPhone's functionality. But after speaking with Yahoo representatives who highlighted some of the finer points in the company's strategy and its intentions for the future, you can bet that I'll be looking forward to future launches of services.
Oh, and look for that Yahoo home page to get much more user-friendly, too (my biggest pet peeve).
Original post starts here: If you've been following the latest news out of Cupertino and Mountain View, you probably know that Google has developed an app that will allow all iPhone users to surf over to the Google home page and enjoy a page specifically designed for the Apple product.
Not only does the new page consolidate all of Google's services, it makes for easy browsing and a far more enjoyable experience.
But for some odd reason, Google is the only major search engine offering full-fledged support for the iPhone. And while I can understand why Microsoft may be unwilling to support the iPhone's mobile Safari browser, what is Yahoo's excuse?
Simply put, the mobile search experience on Google is fantastic, but when it comes to Yahoo, it's pure garbage.
If you have an iPhone, pick it up and surf your way over to the Google home page. While you're there, check out Reader and Gmail and try your luck with a search. Not bad, right?
Next, surf over to Yahoo.com and take a nice, long glimpse at the abomination that is Yahoo's home page. What in the world is this company thinking?
Sure, Yahoo needs to find a way to differentiate itself from Google, but will a cluttered home page and no mobile support help?
Now, I'm fully aware that the iPhone shouldn't be the only benchmark in the world of search engines, and it's difficult to beat up on a company because it doesn't offer the kind of mobile support I think it should. But don't you think Yahoo should want to support as many browsers as possible and offer each and every person a more complete experience? After all, it works for Google.
Quite honestly, Yahoo's executives act like the only experience they have is in running a lemonade business when they were 7 years old. Wouldn't it make sense to improve search results? And wouldn't it make sense to offer users an experience that's far more rewarding? And for goodness sake, wouldn't it make more sense to create a Web app that supports the cell phone industry's most popular device?
I guess not.
Is it a big deal right now that Yahoo doesn't support the iPhone with a Web app? Not really. But isn't this just another example of Google "getting it" and Yahoo totally missing the boat? It may not have a huge impact on search market share and Yahoo may not even care that it doesn't offer an iPhone app, but it does illuminate one major difference between Google and Yahoo: Google seems to always find a way to make consumers want to use its service, while Yahoo doesn't.
Suffice it to say, Yahoo needs to wake up.