Yahoo News Ticker comes Full Circle
Yahoo announced their news ticker application yesterday, for the second time.
I remember sitting in my dorm room back in 1996, fiddling with version 1 of this thing because it was causing my computer to crash.
Computers have advanced in the following 8 years such that I'm certain Yahoo! News Ticker 2.0 won't crash my machine... but I don't see a big market for this product at all. The web is an inherently active medium: if people want information, they will go out and get it via their RSS reader, favorite search engine, etc. While John Battelle likes the idea of relaunching YNT2.0, I'll wager that most people would prefer to go and find information they want rather than waiting for it to appear on their montior--this isn't a passive medium like television, folks.
From Yahoo's perspective, a ticker kinda makes sense. Customers can use Yahoo to search their desktops, read RSS on the web, and now get news updates pushed to them. Yahoo isn't ubiquitous, yet, but this is another step towards getting there.
But from a customer's perspective, the only value that YNT2 adds is this ability to search directly from the desktop, and to use keyboard shortcuts:
I just press "CTRL+ALT+Y" to access the search box. Even better, I can just select some text in whatever application I'm working in, then press "CTRL+ALT+Y" and "enter" to do a search on that text. There's also keyboard shortcuts for image search, news search and all our other vertical searches.
Keyboard shortcuts? Hah! In the user research I've seen, most people are practically glued to the mouse. Clearly, this is a feature aimed at geeks.
YNT1 died because of both technical and utility problems, and YNT2 should never have been resurrected. Bad ideas should stay dead.