I was thinking about social networks and, of course, the five hundred pound gorilla in the room is Facebook. But it was not always that way. No, I’m not talking about MySpace or Friendster. My first friend’s list was on Yahoo Messenger. There were also other relevant players like AOL and MSN messenger and some of what I’m writing is probably true of them as well.
Yahoo Messenger was and is an amazingly polished product. Everything works like it should, everybody was on it, even the smileys were great. Everything that you see in a Facebook or G+ today can easily be imagined being build around YM. I wonder why they didn’t go that route. Even if they didn’t have Google’s allure, they already had a user base who had arranged their connections on a neat list.
IMHO, YM could have could have grown into a significant social network. Well, that’s an opinion from an outside perspective. I’m sure the team at Yahoo were working under constraints that they know best.