Not disruptive, but definitely big

Although I’m not buying Yahoo’s claim that it’s “disruptive”, their new BOSS (Build Your Own Search Service) API has the potential to greatly improve the Web, create businesses, and increase Yahoo’s profile.
By removing the barriers to entry of massive crawling, indexing, and linking of billions of Web pages, BOSS has the potential to unleash some real creativity and energy in a sector that has been dominated by a handful of players. The expenditures required until now have made it necessary for startups to have a lot of money and a strategy that promised huge traffic in pretty short order.
BOSS is driven by the characteristics (openness, performance, and tech chops) that made Yahoo great. Yahoo still must deliver a clearer message about what it means to be a search partner, the kinds of guarantees they can make to their partners, and what the business model will be. These are not small details.
BOSS isn’t likely to steal share directly from Google, but it could increase Yahoo’s share of search by increasing the number and quality of search-driven services for niche markets. This is fully consistent with what we’ve been telling clients about the necessity of becoming a platform, and it’s a great tool for publishers looking to become aggregators.
If I were a better programmer, I’d be boning up on the BOSS API myself tonight.
Originally published on my blog at JupiterResearch.

Limitations of street view

I’m not sure what this means, but I used the Internet is a new way today. Sort of.
I was trying to remember the name of a restaurant where I had dinner the last time I was in New York, and couldn’t find it in Google Maps or any of the obvious yellow pages applications. So, I zoomed in on the street view in Google Maps to get a look at the sign in front of the place.
I was feeling pretty pleased with myself until I discovered a great, big truck sitting between me and and the restaurant’s sign.
Originally published on my blog at JupiterResearch.

Ask City bets big on its users' sophistication

Generally, I’m reluctant to take on the marketing-speak associated with a new product launch. But when described Ask City to me as “an application rather than a website”, it really helped me understand what they were trying to do.
The application they’ve created works well at connecting events and businesses in geographical context. They’ve tied everything together in an application that really does make it possible to plan an evening’s dinner and entertainment, including reviews, tickets, and reservations.
Local has been the application of the future for what seems like forever. AOL and CitySearch and Microsoft generated a lot of excitement with their big investments in national networks of local sites in the summer of ’96.
But Jupiter’s research shows that consumers’ use of local sites has not increased significantly in the last five years. An entire generation of sites have been created in the years since the bubble burst and the vast majority of us have not really changed we use the web to navigate our communities.
It’s not surprising, since the sites are not really all that new. The big guys’ local sites may be too influenced by their core business. Yahoo’s local services look like a portal, but feels unfinished and underpopulated. Google’s local services are about local search, which is a on-strategy but not compelling. Microsoft’s local sites are generic front-ends enhanced with CitySearch listings and yellow pages listings. And the yellow pages companies seem to be focused on creating snazzy Web 2.0 versions of their big, yellow books.
Ask City is something new. It brings together a lot of the elements I’ve been looking for in a local site, and does a good job of integrating them: mapping, events, movies, tickets, restaurants, and tools for linking them all together. This doesn’t just feel like a local extension of their core brand, or a bunch of InterActive Corp. products slapped together in search of synergy.
There are a lot of good ideas in Ask City, and it’s going to take us all a while to learn how to use it in our daily lives. That makes it a pretty big bet on the sophistication of their customers.
Originally published on my blog at JupiterResearch. and Bloglines get real honest-to-goodness synergy going and Bloglines have delivered a blog search tool that demonstrates some real synergy between the two divisions of the same company.
Back during Web Boom 1.0, I coined a term. “Dyssynergy” is a corporate combination that results in a net destruction of value. Back in the good old days, Lycos was a poster child for the ravages of dyssynergy. The bigger they grew, the lamer they became. We haven’t seen a lot of dyssynergies in the new boom. That’s one thing that distiguishes it from the last one.
But we haven’t see a lot of synergy yet, either.’s new Blogs & Feeds search, which uses information from its Bloglines Web-based feedreader, does a good job of separating the wheat from the chaff. And the blogosphere is nothing if not a generous source of chaff.
Previous blog-ranking tools have focused on links as a way to determine a blog’s authority, but Bloglines has a great deal of information about what real people are reading. By harnessing that information, has been able to get some great information on authority and provide search results that are useful and interesting.
Originally published on my blog at JupiterResearch.