FOWA Notes: "User" Rehab: A story of redemption - Bradley Horovitz

"User" Rehab: A story of redemption - Bradley Horovitz
VP Advanced Development Division, Yahoo! Inc

I grew up in Oakland. The word user has a different meaning! Laughter
Dictionary definition of user from

We have to move beyond "users"

Turning users into people.

We think about this pyramid at yahoo.

1 creator
10 synthesisers - Participation when provoked.
100 consumers - The rest of us the great unwashed masses.

Web 2.0 is breaking that down into

100% participation across all of the roles

100% creator
100% synthesisers
100% consumers

Anyone with a ________ is now a ___________

keyboard author
camera photographer
ipod VJ

Where is this leading. Video of monkey doing Karate.

I wish the monkey would kick him where it hurts just once.

UGC can often be a sad experience.

When I need a pick me up I look at the following. Shows a slide show of images that are from the most interesting feed on Flickr. There are taken by ordinary people. These flickr pics were chosen via an algorthm of interestingness. This has been added since Y acquired Flickr. You used to be only able to sort by date / tags. The latest pic is meaningful to the individual but not to me. Now lets look at the same tags "new" "york" and "city" in order of interestingness.

Based on implicit organic measures.
Retroactive. - Can go back and look at the logs to work it out.
Less suseptable to gaming or agendas

Turning Users into Taggers

Another form is "throw ups" which are normally done quickly... source wikipedia?


People organised data
Asking a computer to understand something is hard. Asking people to organise data works better.

Phone can provide context. Zonetags can provide lots of information. Phone can supply location data based on GPS or Cell triangulation.
So your phone can tag an image with all of this info for you.

Flickr recently launched geotagging.
You can look at all
photos geotagged with route66 for exmaple.

Mental maps: Tagmaps
I can see tags overlayed on top of a map.

Jaguar clusters.

Clustering separates tags that have the same name and seeing how they relate.
Jaguar is a car, a cat a guitar.

Looking at the cluster of love on Flickr.

You see couples, kissing. Then an association with colour, then pets, then family etc.

TagMaps looking at data created at night provides a whole different view.


how do you interact with your users?

Logs, oh I got a visit from this ip address today. That's not very useful

Mybloglogs allows a site owner to see who recently viewed their site. Creates a community.

Turning the lights on.
It's like we've been bloggin in the movie theatre.
myBloglog is like turning the lights on.

Add this single line of js to your page. Lowers the barrier of entry.


Pushing HTML to our users.
RSS is a mashup for the masses

You can build up a page based on another sites content.

A real world task

Find an apartment for rent within walking distance from a daycare centre.

Using craigslist and Yahoo Local. doing this would involve lots of cross-referencing and it's a tedious task.
The data is there for the taking.

Give the "users" crack Pipes!

Slide of the Pipes interface.
Lots of manipulations are possible.
Translation, location based filters.

We thought that a small number of people that will provide benefits for everyone else.

Pipe apartment near something (written by the founder of pipes Pasha Sadri)
Can be configured.

Lots of people liked it, Tim O'reilly etc...

Sampling v. Synthesising

Taking part a portion of content and then manipulating it.



Q: Is there going to be an API for Yahoo groups?
A: yes we are going back through all of our older products and implementing APIs.


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