Yahoo More Than Just Search

Globes [online] just posted a great interview with Yahoo!’s CEO, Terry Semel. (via SEW Blog)

It’s interesting to hear Semel talk about the future of the internet and the future of Yahoo!.

Semel plans to move Yahoo! towards content production:

Content is something that Yahoo! has always done, whether through licenses, collecting, or on occasion creating our own slices of content for our users. I plan to continue following this route. It’s not new. It’s the same route, but the advantages of broadband enable us to assemble more video, which will be a significant component, and greatly enrich the experience of our consumers. High-speed Internet facilitates a better experience, and enables people to download music and see new things, whether it’s news, sports, or games.

Content production is a natural progression for Yahoo!. Already the biggest portal with the greatest offerings (shop, search, games, news, etc…) Capitalizing on exclusive content, whether video or music will only improve Yahoo!’s portal standings. At the same time Yahoo! is differentiating itself from it’s competition (Google and MSN).

Semel is also betting on personalization:

You want your search to be customized just for you. That means including very large communities and groups representing millions of people having very specific fields of interest. They spend a lot of time on Yahoo! in order to express the same needs.

ASK Jeeves, Google, and Yahoo offer personalized search – but none of their offerings are useful enough to make a big impact. Pay attention to the personalization sector, because this is going to be big in the upcoming months.

This personalization capability, together with the world’s most advanced technologies for vertical searches, blogs, social networks, and content distribution, is creating what technologically oriented young people love: a page that creates an online identity for a user, with a picture, biography, and blog pages.

Yahoo has consistently shown that they “get it” with regards to blogs and rss. I can’t wait to see what Yahoo! does with respect to online communities – they’ve been on the right track with Yahoo! 360 and aquiring Flickr. The recent changes to Yahoo! news and improved RSS support show that Yahoo! is paying alot of attention to the blogosphere.

We’ll enrich the experience and activity of our communities, and enable them to do more than each can do separately.

Sure sounds like a play from Steve Rubel’s book – Find (Yahoo! Search), Listen (Yahoo! News), Engage (Yahoo! Search Blog), Empower (Yahoo! 360).