The Future of Yahoo – The Path To Profitability? Implications of Search Alliance With Microsoft

The Future of Yahoo – The Path To Profitability? Implications of Search Alliance With Microsoft

At last Yahoo! Buzz was shutdown. Yahoo! had told Buzz users that the site service will not be available after April 21. And so it was!

 

“Yahoo! Buzz will be discontinued as of April 21, 2011. As of this date, you will be unable to access the Yahoo! Buzz site,” a note posted on Yahoo! said. “This was a hard decision. However this will help us focus on our core strengths and new innovations.” said Yahoo

 

Yahoo had launched Buzz in 2008, giving users a community platform where they could share news stories. It was supposed to be a competitor to website like Digg and Reddit. But for some strange reasons, never endeared itself to users.

 

 

Yahoo’s decision to pull plug on Buzz was first reported in December last year when a confidential slide got leaked on twitter. The same slide claimed that Yahoo would also shut down Delicious, Yahoo Picks and Yahoo Bookmarks. Of these services, Buzz is the first one to close down officially. The slide claimed that shutting down of aforementioned services was necessary for the company to return to profit after 2011.

 

 

Among others, Yahoo! Picks and Yahoo! Bookmarks were touted as the weak pawns for Yahoo!, and that the axe would fall on them, too. However, at the end, it is the Buzz that has been silenced.

 

Yahoo has also stated that it will now extend the length of time it keeps search data to 18 months, bringing it in line with rivals and marking a significant backtrack on its privacy promises. Yahoo previously kept search information for only 90 days after a decision in late 2008 to take the lead as the most privacy-conscious search engine. Now it rejoins Google and Microsoft, both of which keep search logs for 18 months.

 

 

Yahoo used to anonymise data after roughly three months by cutting out parts of users’ IP addresses, altering cookies, and deleting other personal information that could lead to identification of a user. It’s not certain if Yahoo will continue to do this after 18 months, but even if it does the move marks a six-fold increase in the time Yahoo will keep records on file. More worryingly, Yahoo indicated that it might also keep other kinds of user information for longer periods.

 

 

“Yahoo is absolutely backtracking from what had been an industry-leading position,” Erica Newland, a policy analyst at privacy watchdog group Center for Democracy & Technology, told Associated Press.

 

 

It’s not entirely clear why Yahoo decided to reverse its earlier promises, but the deal last year with Microsoft to combine their search engine efforts might have had something to do with it. Since Bing operates on an 18-month cycle before deleting logs Microsoft might have asked Yahoo to fall in line if it’s using its search algorithms.

 

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