Getting back the Pulse

Not one to be left behind, Yahoo does a Buzz with Pulse

The Internet started out as a place that was disconnected, with information scattered everywhere. To get to where you wanted, emerged a world of portals followed by the search engines. Companies such as Yahoo and AOL excelled at it, but over the years many of the giants faded into oblivion or changed their business models. While Google stuck to search and started building a whole lot of other things, Yahoo was still busy playing a hybrid between a portal and a search engine.

But that was before people started sharing information on their own using Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and every other social media platform available. This took the Internet user to different websites and too many pages, meaning there were too little eyeballs on the portals. This was a problem that needed a solution. Google came up with Buzz, but it got caught in privacy issues. Now, Yahoo is trying its bit with Pulse.

Before the dawn of Google and Facebook, there was a time when Yahoo Messenger meant the world to everyone. But when social networking took away it winds, Yahoo was left with no option but to transform itself. Some time back, Yahoo profiles reincarnated itself as Yahoo Pulse with some very attractive changes. Though still at a preliminary stage, Pulse seems like it has the ability to define the next wave of online computing and information sharing. To some users, Pulse — http://pulse.yahoo.com — will seem like a bit of Twitter, Facebook, Orkut and Yahoo Messenger rolled into one; a bit intimidating at first. But this is where I think it gets its edge.

As digital cameras have become cheaper, people want to share their pictures online. Some are very personal, and you will only want to share them with a few select friends. Others are of cats, dogs and mountains that you would love to show the world. This is where the integrated Flickr album in Pulse comes to your help.

Then there is the integrated blog engine which does not limit your expressions to 160 characters like Twitter or a few lines like Facebook. On Pulse, you can write a long blog post and then, if needed, automatically share it among your connections.

Like Facebook, Pulse too gives you applications and games. You just have to click the application tab on the left and add games or applications, and there is already a good range to choose from.

As of now, Pulse only integrates with Facebook and Flickr. I would have loved to see a Twitter plug-in as well as the ability to login and fetch my mail from Gmail and Hotmail, but then these things take time. For those of you who are looking for a Facebook replacement, Pulse is not what you want. But for those of you looking for an extension to sharing information with your online friends, Pulse presents an attractive and user-friendly option.

And thankfully, Yahoo has handled the privacy issue very clearly. Your information can be slotted under three definitions — No one, Friends and Everyone. Select ‘no one’ and then absolutely no one will be able to see your thoughts and ideas, ‘friends’ mean only those in your contact list can read your posts and the ‘everyone’ option means it’s for anyone to see.
So if you were looking for a one-stop networking solution, retaining Yahoo as your home page, look no further.


The above article appeared in the Indian Express, on Sunday 27th June 2010