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Last year, Yahoo acted as if it was playing a game of chess. If made lots of small, confusing, seemingly random moves with the intent of bringing everything together in the end. Now, the company is starting to complete the picture and throw its weight around.
Yesterday, Yahoo announced that it will no longer let users sign into Yahoo with their Google or Facebook accounts. If you want to use a Yahoo product, then you’ll need a Yahoo log-in.
Do you remember the great Yahoo ID purge of 2013? Yahoo found abandoned addresses that hadn’t been accessed in more than a year and reassigned them to the highest bidders. This was because someone who never used the email morgan_smith was keeping the address from a Morgan Smith who actually wanted to use it. This was meant to be a gift to active Yahoo users.
With a fresh batch of IDs, Yahoo hopes to lure users back to the service who left for Gmail years ago. It might be a minor inconvenience for them to set up the account at first, but once they’re in they’ll want to stay because of all the great products offered.
Yahoo’s update has two major implications for the face of the Internet. First, they’re no longer tiptoeing around and making obscure moves. Yahoo is making a statement that they’re here and important. Requiring users to use their Yahoo IDs to log-in show’s that they’re not going to do whatever they can for traffic and engagement, but rather want committed users. They believe they’re just as important as Facebook and Google.
The second implication is that Yahoo’s power could start to be felt throughout the Internet. Internet users are often asked to log-in wherever they go to post comments, access exclusive content, and make purchases. Rather than having 200 different log-ins for each blog we’ve ever visited and wanted to comment on, (and we all know we’d use the exact same password for each, real secure) we’re able to sign-in via Facebook or Twitter. This makes the lives of users significantly easier, as they don’t want to create an account specifically for your site.
Websites let users log-in with Facebook, Google, and Twitter because it’s assumed that the majority of the population has at least one of those accounts. If Yahoo can join that list, they can finally be accepted as an important company on the web. Yahoo log-ins would be as commonplace and inescapable as Facebook icons.
The Verge reports that Yahoo is slowly removing the Facebook and Google log-ins from different programs and will start with “Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick’Em” this month. This is brilliant timing. Users will have to Yahoo create accounts if they want to fill out brackets, especially if one person in the office decides to set it up through Yahoo instead of ESPN. Users who create Yahoo log-ins specifically for March Madness won’t have to create an ID ever again, and shouldn’t have a problem with Yahoo’s new change.
When reflecting on a company implementing unpopular changes to a popular service, I can’t help but think about Google+ and YouTube. Another service that will quickly get the Yahoo ID treatment is Flickr. Users will need to login with Yahoo ID’s to use the photo sharing app. That’s a total Google move. You’re never too big to learn from your competition, I guess.