Give Yahoo some friggin’ breathing room

Carol Bartz has taken the helm at the once-great Yahoo. Described as a long time ‘senior player’ in Silicon Valley, she is apparently made of stern stuff. So much so that Mike Harvey of The Times Tech column was rather impressed.

I wonder if it’s the fact that she, “dodged questions about what happens next and asked for those outside the company to give it some “friggin'” breathing room.”

Further, she commented that, “For a great company and a great franchise” had been a mistake, and the company need to “get outward-looking and kick some butt”.

This sounds good. I’m hoping that Carol is someone who won’t take no for an answer and will kick the company into shape.

I hope Carol is a Google user.

Because that’s the only way Yahoo will get better. Whenever a bright spark tries to defend the bollocks that Yahoo has dribbled out to the planet recently, I point them to a post I made a while ago about Yahoo Mobile Search. Or Yahoo Local. Or something like that. So BAD was my experience that I really can’t be bothered to invest the time into finding the sodding post.

It went something like this. I fire up Yahoo Go on my phone. I type in ‘Cinema Times’ and hit search.

I do this with an open mind. A really open mind. You know, I want them to be successful. More than anything I want a decent result so I can find out what’s playing at my local cinema. I wasn’t arsing around. I was testing — but I wanted results.

Flucking piece of rubbish.

What did it come back with?

Times Cinema. Milwaukee.

I kid ye not.

Mil-flipping-waukee. In the United States.

It was, in a sense, accurate. The domain name of the Times Cinema is

At LEAST look up my sodding IP address. Come on. Spot that I’m using a Vdoafone UK data connection. I mean that’s HALF a clue right?

What are your mobile search developers smoking? It must be good stuff to allow that tripe out the door.

Where do I go?

Well I shut down the Yahoo Go rubbish and head straight to Google and get the cinema times on the first search.


Yahoo Go used to be very, very smart. Terry Semel had it right when he stood up on stage and introduced the Yahoo Go app. Then some bright spark dumped the application and converted it to a link to Yahoo’s web properties. Removing the photo sync, the contacts integration, the push email — this was amazing stuff and very much ahead of its time.

I haven’t taken a look at Yahoo Go recently.

I simply can’t bear it.

Not until someone else can tell me that it’s decent. That they’ve thought about it. That I’m not going to be immediately disappointed.

Moving to online, I am a paying user of Yahoo Mail Premium. I set it up because I thought I should kick a bit of cash over to the failing giant. I also reckoned it would be a good idea to send a copy of all my email to my Yahoo Premium account. Just in case. I use Google Apps for my personal and MIR email — so it’s rock steady and 100% available — but, well… I thought it would be cool.

As a result I’ve got 203,380 emails in my inbox. No kidding — here’s a screenshot from this evening:

And that’s where it’s time to get super annoyed. I thought I’d try and organise it. You know, strip out all the newsletters that I don’t need. Strip out all the alerts and various emails that I need on a day-to-day basis but not as an archive. To try and reduce down that 200k email.

The first thing I did was try and organise messages by sender. Error 4:

Nothing flippin’ works.

Ok, I’ll try and do a search for The Times. I get their newsletter every morning. I should have at least 300 copies of them that I can happily delete, right?

I type ‘The Times’ into the search box:

I wait.

I wait.

There’s a little ‘loading’ icon whirring away in the corner whilst the system works out that it can’t be arsed and wasn’t made for any sort of professional use.

I recognise that 200,000 emails is certainly an unusual amount. But, you build your stuff scalable, right?

Fail again.



What do I do now?

Do I keep sending mail to this account and hope that Carol will sort this out?

Or recognise that it’s probably a lost cause…

What d’ya think? And have you used many of Yahoo’s mobile products recently?

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