AdAge is reporting that Yahoo! updated Aviate, its app organization tool, to be more like (read: nearly identical to) Google Now. With the latest version, Smart Stream is designed to work as a personal assistant.
Smart Stream is supposed to anticipate what someone needs from their phone based on their location and the way they use their phone. For example, if a conference call is scheduled in the phone’s calendar, when the call is supposed to take place, the phone will display the number for the conference in the address book. Alternatively, a play list may come up when someone plugs headphones into their phone.
The new app is supposed to also take past searches into account. The product manager of Yahoo Aviate said:
For example, let’s say we predict you want to go to a movie this weekend, so we surface the upcoming movies this weekend in a theater nearby. We can see: did you engage with that card, and then not only did you engage with it but what movie did you click on, and not only what movie did you click but did you click to view a trailer or buy a ticket.
Although this all sounds wonderful in theory, the reality is that Smart Stream has been about as well received as a glass hammer. The app itself has a high rating of above 4 stars, but the most recent ratings have been awful.
These are the first rating results that come up, and pages and pages of 1 star ratings follow. The majority of the issues are that the new start screen isn’t user friendly or customizable, and Yahoo has been so deluged with bad ratings that they’ve taken to trying to respond to the negative feedback.
It appears that one of the major purposes of the change is to force people to use Yahoo as their search engine and Yahoo News for, well, news, and this may be why customization options went by the wayside. If this is Yahoo’s way of pushing people to use their products via a popular app, it appears to have backfired.