Saturday, 24 May 2008

Rojak 2.0 - My First Impressions of Yoono (Part 1)

It took the crew at Yoono a while to give me an invite to play with their beta but I finally got it yesterday. Problem is I couldn't remember what Yoono was. So obediently I signed in, connected to Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, Flickr, GTalk and msn. If I had an ICQ or Yahoo or AIM profile I could add those too. Having logged into every other social network I could think of (reminding me of FriendFeed or Pulse) I imagined it was something similar to other mashups but delivered as a plugin rather than a website. When I started fidgeting with it, I found that perhaps I was wrong and Yoono was something completely different.

Once I got the invitation email the add-on was quite quick to download and easy to install I now have an extra menu bar on the left that I am currently playing with as I write this on Google Docs. The first thing I notice is that the Yoono menu is like taking every 2.0 app or service that was ever popular, putting it into a cocktail shaker and shaking the sh*t out of it for about 20 minutes. Then pouring the contents through a strainer and serving it up as a private beta to see if it tastes any good. Having said that it seems to have a little bit of everything all thrown into it and it will either be a fantastic success or a horrible failure. I get the feeling that because it leverages off other communities as well as having the capabilites of creating it's own it is neither here nor there. Is it a client (like twitterfox on steriods?) or is it it's own social network unto itself or is it a mashup like FriendFeed or Plaxo Pulse? I think the answer to that question will be determined by how it takes off and how users use it.

Too Many Friends
The default menu for Yoono comes with three widgets. You can add more (6 currently) but I've not got that far yet. The first widget is Friends.

Now I am not one of those people connected to everyone nor do I indiscriminately add people to my Facebook or Twitter Profile but I have about 300 friends on Facebook, maybe about 400 people I am following on Twitter, a hundred or so people via msn, and maybe 50 on Gtalk. These are not the same people either. Different circles of friends and acquaintances or mine are connected by different social networks. Thats 700-800 people on a contact displayed in a sidebar...and this before I import the thousand or so Gmail contacts.

For me, a list this long is not that useful but if you are okay with managing this many contacts then I guess it is good that the categories from our msn list is also imported as are you GTalk classifications. When you click on an msn contact you can "star" that contact, open up their Yoono page or actually chat with them in the sidebar. Similarly with your twitter friends you can @reply to them from the contact list or tweet.

Essentially the interface works a little like Pidgin with a much nicer UI and connectible to many more protocols. Still in this same widget is a button that is labeled "friends activity" that looks like a blue RSS logo. When you click this you get all your updates in one chronological feed. Even if you connected both FriendFeed and Twitter it actually merges the two feeds so that you don't get every tweet twice. This is actually pretty cool because you can @reply, comment and open a Facebook Wall page all from the comfort of one feed. And when you don't have the Friend's widget open the add-on gives you a Twhirl/Twitterfox style pop-up on the bottom right of your Firefox window. (actually as I re-read this again those pop-up are getting a little annoying, but you can switch them off.)

All in all, a pretty good mashup but I would advise that if you intend to use this as a replacement for Twhirl or Twitterfox or your other iGoogle Gadgets then make sure you have a large monitor. On my 12.1 inch notebook monitor I am slowly going blind scrolling through my 700 contacts and keeping my left eye on the flashing icon that informs me that my tweet feed is updated. I'm going to try to find some eye drops now and will let you know about what I think of the "Web notes", "Discoveries" widgets when I have regained my sight again.

P.S. If you didn't know, Rojak is an Malaysian Indian dish that is made up vegetables, hard boiled egg, fried tofu and prawn crackers covered in a sweet black sauce and crushed peanuts.Colloquially rojak refers to being mixed up.

No comments: