Google Launches My Google, World Does Not End

On Thursday Google launched their My Yahoo competitor. It’s not really called My Google, but it might as well be. As has been pointed out by many others, this marks a reversal for Google and their ‘no portal’ policy. Honestly, who couldn’t have seen this coming for some time now?
The surprising thing, at least to me, is that they’re trying to copy My Yahoo, which is the wrong thing to do. As many people have found out, the My Yahoo metaphor of a customizable page displaying static information doesn’t scale. It may have worked in the mid-1990s. But in this particular century, with millions of blogs and other sites of interest, you need a different interface paradigm to deal with all that information.
My Yahoogle doesn’t track what information you’ve already read, and what bits are new. So, each time you visit your My Yahoogle page, it takes time to scan the page to see if there’s new information. This is a complete waste. If you only show new things, the amount of information that needs to be displayed decreases greatly. There’s less information, and it’s all new. It’s a much more efficient way of dealing with many information sources.
Another flaw in the My Yahoogle model is the idea of placing everything on one page. Besides forcing the user to become a web page designer (should I place this information source in the right corner, or left?), this again reduces the number of information sources that can be followed, to a number that can be reasonably placed on a single web page.
The Bloglines user interface was developed partially in response to these flaws. Only show new articles. Provide a mechanism (the tree display in the left pane) that allows you to easily select a subset of information sources to display at any one time.
I have over 200 subscriptions in my Bloglines account (many of which you can see in my blogroll on the left). There’s no way I could follow that many sites in My Yahoogle. Sometimes I’m asked if I consider My Yahoogle competition. There’s no way that they can compete without completely changing their interface.