Thursday, June 26, 2014

Yahoo Attempts To Make Your Home Screen Smarter With New Aviate App

Let's be honest when it comes to social media and smartphones Yahoo isn't at the top of the list. I mean, when was the last time you heard someone say, "I don't know, let me Yahoo it really quick!" I rest my case. However, that hasn't stopped the website from trying to get a better foothold in the mobile industry. In recent news, Yahoo has announced the release of a personalization app for Android.

Known as Yahoo Aviate, the app is the byproduct of Yahoo's acquisition of Aviate earlier in the year. During the acquisition, Yahoo also acquired an app for personalizing the home screen on Android phones based entirely on what users are doing. The Aviate app has previously been in a closed beta, though the version that was just released is available around the globe in English with some new features.

The developers of the app have been focusing on organizing the apps of users based on a number of different signals. Walk by a gym and fitness apps might show up. Driving in your car listening to the radio could very well bring up apps like Spotify or other music apps. Yahoo's version of the app brings in new features that are designed to make the app more useful. Some of these features include weather changes and a way to connect to a conference call with the tap of a single icon.

CEO of Yahoo Marissa Mayer has been very vocal as of late on the company's efforts to offer more in terms of contextual search. According to Mayer, Aviate is a key element in that pursuit. However, Aviate exists in a very crowded market of apps that offer functions that act like a personal assistant, like EverythingMe and EasilyDo. The other big challenge is that predicting what people want can be very difficult and failing to do so accurately could be a very big annoyance for users.

In addition to that, apps like Aviate also compete, in some ways, with apps like Google Now. Google Now is Google's mobile tool for Apple's iOS operating system and Android. The app provides different information, like sports scores and news headlines based on data signals specific to that person.

If Yahoo is trying to get a foothold in the mobile and social media market then an app like this might not be the best idea. While the idea is interesting and has potential, the risks are large. If the app becomes an annoyance more than an assistance then users could get a sour taste in their mouths for future Yahoo apps. Only time will tell, however, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see how this thing plays out.

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