Personal and the Social Collide in MyWeb 2.0

The MyWeb upgrade from the original Yahoo! MySearch was a great improvement, allowing users to save and annotate Web pages. I have been using this for months and love it.

Today Yahoo! further upgraded the offering (MyWeb 2.0) and made it possible to share that saved information and see what others have searched for and collected (under the same folders/tags/terms). Accordingly, it adds a dynamic (and potentially sticky) community layer to Web search personalization (it's a better version of Eurekster).

This is part of Yahoo!'s bigger community push — in addition to seeking to differentiate its search experience from Google — but how does this integrate (or not) with Yahoo!'s other, meta-community effort, Yahoo! 360?

Google upgraded its own personalization capability today as well. Google personalization seeks to use a searcher's history to deliver more relevant results in the future — very Amazon-like indeed. We'll see if over time it delivers on the promise of more relevant results (and of course more targeted AdWords).

Back to MyWeb 2.0. Yahoo! has replaced the folder system with tagging (a la Flickr) and made the entire application broader, clearly with provocative potential. There's a lot to talk about on this front and I want to talk to Yahoo! before speculating too much more.

Comparing Yahoo!'s product and Google's, they're two different approaches to personalization (putting aside Yahoo!'s social search capability in MyWeb 2.0). Yahoo!'s is more "transparent" and requires more effort from the user; Google's is more "passive" and thus somewhat more "opaque" to the user. A user may be generally aware that Google is tracking and adjusting search results according to his or her personal search history, but lose that awareness on day 2.

Then again, the less effort on the part of users — the more "passive" the approach — the broader the potential adoption and use.

The reaction to this may be: a) positive, b) blase (as with Amazon's "recommendations") or c) alarm. Privacy has become an issue once again for consumers and Google's size and success have made it more anonymous (ironically) and more ominous to some.

It's only Tuesday; I don't think I can keep up with the pace of these rollouts — I've got announcement fatigue.


More from others:

Very extensive, technical discussion of Google's personalization (and Yahoo! near the very end) from Danny Sullivan in a long blog post.

More discussion of MyWeb 2.0 on the Flickr blog (pointed out by SiliconBeat)

From John Markoff at NY Times.

Big, meaty article from Chris Sherman at Search Engine Watch.

Yahoo Search Blog discussion






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