On Friday, Yahoo officially unveiled its newest entry into the social network space, Mash. Though there are many notable names in the space already, I’m certain that Mash is looking to compete head-to-head with Facebook in particular. Upon closer inspection of the feature set and interface, I think this can easily be confirmed.
Much of the buzz and PR created by Facebook can be attributed to two key components: the news feed and the developer platform. Yahoo took notice of this and incorporated similar features into Mash. “Pulse” is the term used to described Mash’s version of the news feed. In addition, users of this new social network can customize their profile with individual modules which are akin to Facebook apps. These drag-and-drop pieces can easily be moved around to create a personalized space. Yahoo plans to open up their platform to 3rd party developers in the coming months. Sound familiar?
Two deviations from Facebook include the ability to edit other people’s profile pages, as well as some level of layout customization. To be honest though, the interface itself isn’t overly appealing. It is quite bland. Don’t get me wrong – I love simplicity. But there is a difference between simplicty and elegance. Facebook has found that balance. Mash hasn’t. It looks to me like Yahoo has created a quick-and-dirty version of Facebook with future plans to refine the interface, improve the experience, and expand the feature set. Simply put, I think that Yahoo is still a bit pissed that they didn’t snap up Facebook. They wish they would have offered that extra bit and sealed the deal. Now, they are kicking themselves and trying to play catch-up.
Currently, the service is in (yes, you guessed it) BETA mode. In order to access or test the service, you must be invited by a friend or colleague. This marketing tactic is lame and played-out. I suggest heading over to InviteShare if you are in dire need to try out the new service.
TechCrunch has kindly posted some screenshots of the new service:
- Yahoo Mash screenshot 1
- Yahoo Mash screenshot 2
- Yahoo Mash screenshot 3
- Yahoo Mash screenshot 4
- Yahoo Mash screenshot 5
- Yahoo Mash screenshot 6
- Yahoo Mash screenshot 7
Overall, I was fairly disappointed by my initial analysis of the service. Nevertheless, I will hold back from making any firm conclusions until I actually test out the social network. I am unaware of how much Yahoo has allocated towards this project (both in terms of financial and human resources). By the looks of it, it doesn’t seem like enough.