Despite a frenzy of speculation earlier this month, Microsoft has not acquired Yahoo. However buried amongst numerous reports at the time was speculation that the two companies could form a stronger relationship as part of an “Anyone but Google” grouping.
Microsoft Popfly could demonstrate part of a new relationship between Yahoo and Microsoft.
The private alpha test of mashup and widget creator Popfly was announced May 18 and is pitched as a Yahoo Pipes competitor. It’s expected that these sorts of services focus strongly on the respective creators products. Popfly doesn’t include one pre-set “block” relating to any Google property, yet offers a range of Yahoo blocks including Yahoo News, Traffic, Answers and blocks for the Yahoo owned Flickr and Upcoming.
Some Yahoo blocks could be offered due to Microsoft’s lack of home grown coverage of some verticals, and yet Yahoo News is offered alongside MSN News Feeds, Flickr along with My Live Spaces Photos.
If Microsoft is aiming to provide a more inclusive product with Popfly, why are there no Google blocks? There is any number of Google related products that could improve the mashup experience on Popfly. It’s difficult to believe that exclusion of all Google products was anything other than intentional. Conversely the inclusion of Yahoo related blocks that compete with Microsoft offerings must have been decided upon by someone, and the purpose of this is questionable: why Yahoo, why now?
All of this is not to take away from Popfly, it looks like a great service, yet even from small things, one can find hidden meaning.