Yahoo is one of those sites that truly needs no introduction. Everybody knows what it is, what it is used for, and most of us have relied on it at one point or another to help us navigate the enormous digital landscape that is the world wide web. There was a time, even if it is hard to imagine now, that Yahoo was the go-to search engine, back when the only really reliable alternative was Ask Jeeves – the butler themed search engine that was designed around asking questions – a sort of archaic precursor to Alexa or the way in which many people tend to use Google nowadays.
Most of us no longer use Yahoo for its originally intended purpose, as a search engine, since the majority of people default to Google (which has been made even easier thanks to the fact that they now have web browser of their own, Google Chrome). However, that does not mean that Yahoo is simply fading into the darkness of internet history.
Yahoo has still managed to find ways to make itself useful, even if the search is no longer its primary purpose. In fact, plenty of people resort to Yahoo, believe it or not, for its reliable, up to date, and a massive collection of movie reviews and entertainment news in the form of Yahoo Movies. Although there are many sources for entertainment news and film/television reviews, Yahoo is still a relatively popular resource for anyone who wants to be kept in the loop when it comes to their favorite actors, actresses, series, and films; as well as for anyone who wishes to find hot off the presses info on upcoming films, seasons, and series.
Little known fact: Yahoo is actually a backronym – an acronym that is intentionally formed to create a specific word. And Yahoo’s creators actually had two backronyms in mind when they named Yahoo. They are pretty similar to one another, but “Yahoo” is meant to stand for either “Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle” or Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.” They chose the word “Yahoo” because they enjoyed the meaning (which was taken from the famous work of fiction, Gulliver’s Travels): an unsophisticated, rural southerner; uncouth.
Whichever backronym you prefer, it is clear to see that the founders of Yahoo have always had a somewhat ironic sense of humor, something that I always welcome warmly when it comes to innovations in tech – a space that can be a little too cold and sterile at times. This sort of thing humanizes the algorithms and AI that we use on a daily basis.
Speaking of Yahoo’s founders, the company was the brainchild of two Stanford students, David Filo and Jerry Yang in January of 1994. In fact, the prototype of Yahoo was, again dryly titled, “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.” The site served simply as a directory of other sites that were organized hierarchically, hence the final name, instead of a searchable index of websites. It wasn’t until 1995 that the key component to what made Yahoo the digital powerhouse that it became, the search function, was added.
Yahoo quickly expanded, offering email services and news components. And in 1998, the first iteration of what is today Yahoo Movies was added to their long list of services. On May 12th, 1998, to be exact, Yahoo announced what was then simply called Upcoming Movies. This is one of the Yahoo cornerstones that has remained relatively emboldened over the years in the face of fierce dot-com competition. And it continued to expand. In 2005, Yahoo Movies began offering its users personalized movie recommendations – something that, to this day, other movie review and news sites have struggled to figure out.
Yahoo Movies also established itself as a hub for entertainment news. They offered not only announcements of upcoming movies, recommendations based on users’ personalized interests, and plenty of insider info; they also provided exclusive content, such as red carpet photos at awards shows, recaps of the big nights’ winners, snubs, photos, videos, and polls. The site continued to gain momentum, adding on famous film critics to their staff, box office information, trailers, clips, and fun listicles like its annual Summer Movies Guide.
Today, Yahoo Movies is right up there with the best of them when it comes to entertainment news, reviews, and intel. If you are looking for a gold mine of everything happening in the entertainment industry, well, you may have just found your new home page. Perhaps it’s time to invite Yahoo back into our lives? Let’s delve in and find out.
Well, frankly, the design of Yahoo Movies is my first big gripe with the site as a whole. Instead of presenting a fully fleshed out and immersive site of its own, Yahoo Movies merely exists as one spoke on the wheel of the much larger Yahoo Entertainment. It feels a little overshadowed in this much larger context if I’m being honest. But, then again, this could be nothing more than personal preference, of course.
If you are the kind of person who is interested in a site that can help you find all forms of entertainment news (as well as politics and global news, etc.) you may not have a problem with this at all. In my opinion, though, each part is shorthanded in service of the whole. It would have been nice if Yahoo Movies existed as its own entity, separate from Yahoo News’s more generalized design.
Plus, the design of the site as a whole is not all that great. It is extremely sparse. This is not necessarily a problem – I am a huge fan of minimalistic site design. The problem, however, lies in the fact that, in its sparseness, it doesn’t look particularly stylized. It truly does look just like an index of news articles related to a particular topic. But, hey, I suppose design never has been Yahoo’s strong suit.
On the bright side, however, Yahoo Movies does make use of Yahoo’s search function to simplify browsing for a particular actress or filmmaker. That is a nice touch, the ability to search within a given section specifically. And it is a rather powerful search engine, as far as entertainment and news sites are concerned especially.
To end this discussion of design on a high note, though, I do enjoy Yahoo Movies’ use of an infinite scroll, meaning that you don’t have to click through page after page after page to find what you are looking for – that is a nice and convenient touch.
The articles that appear on Yahoo Movies are from a variety of sources. Some of which are, I believe, writers that work for Yahoo Movies. These original articles appear right alongside popular media sources such as Variety, Entertainment Weekly, People, and Insider (to name a few). It is basically a hybrid of original content, search engine, and online news crawler. This is, I think, where Yahoo Movies becomes its most effective – in the way it deploys such a broad range of content, original content included.
Another strength of Yahoo Movies concerns quantity. The number of articles that you can find and read thanks to Yahoo Movies is astounding and unparalleled. No other singular entertainment news site is going to have the chops to deliver this much news on a given topic. Because, well, no other entertainment news outlet has the power of a legendary search engine backing them.
In addition to news, you will be able to find trailers for upcoming movies, reviews, awards show coverage and movie recommendations.
Desktop and Mobile Experience
Perhaps you will find yourself enjoying the more spartan and sterile design of Yahoo Movies. Type “A” personalities might fall in love with it. I am, however, aggressively type “B,” and, so, I want everything to be artistic and experiential. But if you are merely here for the info, the desktop experience might be right up your alley.
As far as the mobile experience is concerned, unfortunately, there is no app dedicated solely to Yahoo Movies. Or even Yahoo Entertainment. Instead, you will probably be best off downloading the Yahoo all in one app. This will give you access to Yahoo mail, news, and sports. Sure, it won’t be quite as streamlined, again, as if there was a specific place dedicated to just the movies (or even just the entertainment section) of Yahoo, but it will get you there, surely, with a bit of clicking around.
Pricing and Plans
Yahoo Movies, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, like all other components of Yahoo is 100% free. There are no membership prices or monthly fees to worry about. The only price you will have to pay comes in the form of stomaching ads. Which, thankfully, are not quite as invasive or commonplace as some other sites (I’m looking at you, YouTube).
Suggestions that I have for Yahoo Movies
Well, my biggest suggestion would be to dedicate a single site that is more experiential and focused solely on movies to this endeavor. The same is true with an app. I think it’s about time that Yahoo found a way to reinvent themselves a bit, don’t you? This would be one way to do it.