I can’t say that I’m terribly impressed with Yahoo 360 and I will not be using it anytime soon for blogging. Everyone is comparing it to other blogging tools, but I’m not sure if that is an appropriate way to review the service. It looks like Yahoo 360 would be most useful for those already fully integrated into using Yahoo’s other services like Mail, Photos, My Yahoo, and Groups. Yahoo 360 pulls all these together into one nice interface. So, as a “social networking” tool, I think the service will do well. In addition to having your email, groups, photos, etc. accessed in one place, the user will also have the ability to perform basic blogging.
There are some nice features of Yahoo 360 with respect to blogging, but there are also some severe drawbacks that will prevent almost any serious blogger from using the service on a regular basis.
– built in blogroll lists
– links seamlessly to Yahoo “friends”
– automatic RSS 2.0
– basic WYSIWYG post editor works well
– built in upload for images (JPEG only)
– no trackbacks and no pings
– could be considered “too” integrated with Yahoo
– very limited blog customizations (almost none as bloggers know it)
– blog description limited to 100 characters (why?)
– couldn’t change timezone settings for posts (hey, I don’t live on the West coast)
– no Atom, RDF, or older RSS versions
– blog url is structured as a subfolder instead of a subdomain like Blogger (http://360.yahoo.com/tmarkie)
– sometimes the pages just go blank while editing (not sure why this is happening)
– you must be a Yahoo member to see the public blog site (at least in most of my tests this was the case)
Overall, I’d say Yahoo 360 is a decent service as long as its put into the proper context when comparing it to other services. If someone is looking for a free, hosted service just for blogging though, I’d shy away from Yahoo and stick with Blogger or something similar.
UPDATE (4/9/05): Even though I’m not a big user of everything Yahoo, I do use My Yahoo regularly for their finance and portfolio tracking features. One oddity of Yahoo 360 is that even when I’m logged into My Yahoo, I have to re-enter the same login info for Yahoo 360. When I do that, it must delete the cookie for My Yahoo because when I go back after closing my browser to My Yahoo, I have to login again. Yahoo needs to coordinate My Yahoo and Yahoo 360 here. Single sign-on folks. Please.