Yahoo’s consumer tech site launched Sunday night. Some initial observations given that the site is supposed to be a step forward (the NYT calls it one of “its first major efforts to build a Web site with original material”) and has been in the works for at least a year. Patrick Houston moved to Yahoo from CNET to head the site and his background shows in the pragmatic approach. Features include:
— A personalized My Tech space that could be compared to a stock tracker. Trying to save a product the first time blanked my Yahoo page in Firefox. Two of the three next tries worked; when it works, it’s fairly slick. Click on a saved product and you get an image, ratings/reviews, price comparisons, specs, and “relevant questions and answers from real people.”
— A product “cloud” at the top of the page, similar to the tag cloud on Yahoo’s Flickr. The more popular a product, the larger the word.
— An advisor sections with, well, advice about how to use gadgets, software, hardware. The advisors featured now are “name brands” like Robin Raskin. Topics each advisor writes about are listed his or her pages; they also have blogs and list email addresses.
— A “stuff I own” option. I couldn’t find the laptop I really own so picked a more expensive version. What would really make it useful: links to software updates, downloads, owner-related — not purchase-related — info specifically about that product.
The launch front includes a promo for “Hook Me Up,” a chance to have a makeover team update your gear. Auditions for the show are videos submitted through iFilm.
Initial react: Still a work in progress. Gives Yahoo denizens a destination and some nifty features but wouldn’t be the first stop for CNET vets. Then again, I’m not sure it’s meant to be.