The big news of the night is Yahoo's release of a new technology portal, aimed squarely at non-geeks (see site tour). To make the point it's not for geeks, the site features 4 stereotypical "advisors" (aka bloggers): The Boomer, The Mom, The Working Guy, The Techie Diva.
They are described as "struggling with tech every day, just like you". Yes it's kind of lame, but no doubt there is a market for a tech products portal aimed at non-geeks.
One thing that makes me feel uneasy about Yahoo Tech is the overwhelming consumer focus - it's all about "buying the latest gear" and is described as "product central". Consumerism is still normal in mainstream media these days, but on the Web I've become used to a more 'prosumer' form of commercialism. This quote from the NY Times interview of Patrick Houston, the general manager of Yahoo Tech, sums up the slightly out-of-kilter mainstream consumer focus:
"Technology is a form of self-expression," Mr. Houston said. "You are what gadgets you carry."
Also the advisor blogs look contrived and sound hokey - "I just zipped over to Amazon to price Microsoft Office: $407.99 for the full version that includes Access. Wow. That's a lot of money." Perhaps the advisors will grow into their role, but it all strikes me as a bit bland and as if they're following a script. Then again, I'm not in any of the target demographics - and I'm not being sarcastic or ironic (like us Gen Xers are wont to do), I really am just saying that I'm not in the target demographics.
But on a positive note, the "tech is made easy" angle is great and I really hope this pulls in the punters. Technology is too damn hard most of the time and "real" people won't get much down-to-earth tech advice by reading my blog, for example. They're probably better off getting their tech product advice from people who are just like them. Plus there are a lot of great 2.0 features in the portal - reviews, ratings, social networking, tag clouds, questions and answers, etc. So like TechCrunch, I'm taking a 'wait and see' approach with this. It looks promising, but at the same time also looks a bit too calculated. More at NY Times.