Yahoo! Mobile a Big Step Forward

Dan Miller and I sat down on Friday morning for breakfast and a demo of the new Yahoo! Mobile with Marc Davis, who has several hats but is known by the formal title "Chief Scientist and VP of ESP, Yahoo! Connected Life."

Both Dan and I were very impressed with the new apps and experience, which brings oneSearch, oneConnect and onePlace together in a more intuitive way. It also makes the experience more consistent across platforms. Most of the caffeine fueled discussion was off the record. But I'll say a few things.

Previously Yahoo! created some confusion in my view with a range of experiences across a range of mobile sites and apps. There was "GO," the uber-app; there were oneSearch, oneConnect and onePlace. Then there was the mobile Web version of the Yahoo! homepage, which was completely divorced from these other experiences. The client app oneConnect was available for the iPhone but oneSearch didn't have a dedicated iPhone app. Nor was there a iPhone GO app. GO contained all these subsidiary tools/experiences but wasn't widely available. 

Now that's all cleaned up and subsumed under "Yahoo! Mobile." And the mobile Web version is really terrific -- as good or in some ways even better than the dedicated app. GO, for its part, is being phased out over time.

The entire Yahoo! Mobile "suite" is compelling. But the surprise for me was oneConnect, which I've had on my iPod Touch for many months, but haven't used with any regularity. Its intention is to organize users' contacts and social networks in a single tool that allows you to update status or broadcast one-to-many from mobile devices. Though imperfect, there is radical potential in the oneConnect functionality of the new Yahoo! Mobile. 

Overall the new Yahoo! Mobile is a dramatic improvement over Yahoo!'s prior collection of mobile experiences. It's not simply a mobile search engine but a comprehensive set of tools and functionality that covers search, feeds/news, social media and third party content distribution. 

There's nothing else out there right now that competes with it. Now Yahoo! just needs to bring it to market and show people the benefits of using it. 

Here's a video that offers a little taste of the new experience.