It's Not TV, It's Yahoo from the New York Times is another look at Yahoo's moves to provide its own programming. The opening anecdote is key. Yahoo media chief Lloyd Braun "fumed" that Yahoo News was only offering "a white page filled with links to other sites on the web" during the troubled Discovery space shuttle mission rather than something original of its own.
I wrote before of the challenge this type of approach poses to Yahoo. Create your own programming, and people may not trust you're going to point them elsewhere. Indeed, that type of pointing IS programming and worked to bring people to Google in droves back when search engines became portals and decided they needed to have "channels" and their own content.
I don't know which way it will pan out, of course. Soon after Braun came aboard and talked about Yahoo's vertical areas as "channels," I wasn't impressed that he didn't seem to know the past history with search of that metaphor. But the closing quote in today's New York Times article suggests he does see the difficult balancing act:
"People want the freedom to do exactly what they want to do," he said. "But they also like to be programmed to and reminded of the different things that exist. Yahoo is in a position to do both of those."
I can certainly agree with this. There are definitely times when going beyond the algorithmic organization of information, some human programming, is helpful.
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