Yahoo! We’re Going To Hollywood But We’ll Have to Use a Google Map to Get There

Link: Wired 13.03: The UnGoogle (Yes, Yahoo!).

Interesting article in Wired about the different strategies of Yahoo! and Google. I find it quite amazing how Yahoo! have managed to consolidate their position as a cornerstone of content and services and quietly become the most innovative web services company around.  What I didn’t realise is how their approach is more pragmatic than a great vision: they try to be first to market and deliver what the user wants.  Google on the other hand seem to be more idealistic and principled.  But whilst competitors, they are seemingly on divergent paths:

Yahoo! and Google are headed in different directions. Google is on its way to Redmond to battle Microsoft later this decade, while Yahoo! is going Hollywood. Late last year, the company announced the opening of a new entertainment division, run by former ABC television exec Lloyd Braun. The division, based in Santa Monica, California, incorporates the company’s movies and music services along with games, news, sports, and finance.

More interestingly is the path that Yahoo! wants to be on:

What does Yahoo! have to offer Hollywood? It’s a new distribution channel. Semel imagines Yahoo! delivering rich content to any Web-enabled device at any time, a vision that could make Yahoo! the obvious next step in Hollywood’s Internet strategy. "I can easily see using my credit card to pay Yahoo! to watch a first-run movie on my computer in five years," says UBS Warburg analyst Ben Schachter.

Semel doesn’t just want to deliver movies. He’s intent on making Yahoo! more personal. Customizing the site down to the neighborhood level will make it more appealing to users and indispensable to advertisers. "If you are looking for a plumber or a pizza parlor, you don’t want one 3,000 miles away," Semel says. "You want your search to be customized just for you. [source: Wired].

Geography is going to be so key which to a Geo/Sociology PhD grad nerd like me produces a warm, wet feeling down the leg area.  But I think Wired as I’m sure it won’t be long before Google start to monetise the local search with relevant local ‘content’ and that’s currently Yahoo!’s baby.   

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