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Yahoo Launches Dashboard 320

Posted by Zonk
from the must-have-more-widgets dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Engadget has a 'live' post from a Yahoo press conference this morning showing something called Yahoo Dashboard. It looks awwwfully familiar. They brought out Ellen DeGeneres to demo it, and Tom Cruise to show an MI: 3 trailer for some reason." From the article: "I would like to announce right now what we call Yahoo Go. If you have some of the same problems dealing with things as Ellen .... Yahoo Go ... is a revolutionary way to connect users to Web services they already use. We're installing new applications right on devices (pix of laptop, TV, phone)." Dashboard is the relaunch of Konfabulator. We reported on Yahoo!'s purchase of Konfabulator last year.
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Yahoo Launches Dashboard

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  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Friday January 06, 2006 @04:53PM (#14411768)
    I'm not sure if the submitter is insinuating that Yahoo "Dashboard" looks suspiciously familiar to Apple's Dashboard [apple.com] on Mac OS X 10.4.x (Tiger), but we should be reminded that Yahoo Go/Yahoo Dashboard is in fact Yahoo! Widget Engine [yahoo.com], which is in fact Konfabulator renamed.

    And Konfabulator [wikipedia.org], by Arlo Rose (of Kaleidoscope [kaleidoscope.net] fame) and Perry Clarke, was around on the Mac OS X platform first, until a Windows version was also released with the help of Ed Voas before Yahoo!'s purchase [wikipedia.org]. In fact, if it weren't for the Windows version, Yahoo! may never have come knocking.

    And it's easy to say that Apple ripped off Konfabulator to make Dashboard, but if we go back a step further...say, a couple of decades, we find that the idea of Konfabulator - little modeless applets that do useful things, like an address book or a notepad or a calculator or a little game - actually hearkens back to Apple's original idea [daringfireball.net] of Desk Accessories [wikipedia.org].

    It all comes full circle!

    No, wait. That's not full circle. It all leads back to Apple. ;-)
    • Given that the WikiPedia article describes the purpose of the original Desktop Accessories being to get around the lack of multitasking, it seems that another predecessor are MS-DOS TSRs (terminate-and-stay-resident applets).

      I'm not sure what the difference is meant to be between, say, a calculator Widget and a calculator application - I assume Widgets are easier to develop?

      • I'm not sure what the difference is meant to be between, say, a calculator Widget and a calculator application

        Bizarrely, they are actually two different things (unlike the Dictionary widget, which merely calls the Dictionary.app). This can be shown by typing in a simple sum to Calculator.app and the calculator widget:
        2+4*6

        In the widget, it is evaluated left to right (giving 36 as the answer), whereas in the .app, it is evaluated using standard algebraic rules, so the multiplication takes precedence
    • I say that there's just not enough evidence to convict Apple of copying Konfabulator for Dashboard, but there's a lot of reasoning that could make it go either way. And then of course you could say Konfabulator copied Active Desktop in a more effective way, but that's something everyone doesn't give credit for.

      The truth is, until historians can look back on it, it'll be hard to see. There's still too much FUD being flung in all directions to know for sure which chicken originally laid the egg.
      • by calzones (890942) on Friday January 06, 2006 @06:16PM (#14412503)
        > ...you could say Konfabulator copied Active Desktop in a more effective way...

        YES! I have always thought that active desktop was a great idea with a horrible implementation, and when people showed me Konfabulator, it seemed to me to be a better implementation, but still not good enough.

        The idea of having desk accessories, small, one-purpose quick apps handy, is just sooo obvious, you can't give credit to anyone for that. The idea of embedding them in an out-of-the-way-yet-easily-accessible layer of the OS is also really obvious. So Konfabulator can't take credit for much, and neither should Apple, and accusations of copy-cat in either direction are totally ill-founded.

        That leaves the only aspect to this whole deal that can be remotely considered 'innovative:' using an html layer in the OS that the user can configure and control to create such apps of any flavor. And as much as I love Apple, credit for that has to go to MS, who unfortunately sought to make the entire OS revolve around some bastardized browser concept, instead of just this one special layer.

        What Apple can take credit for is simply for taking the initiative of making this available as part of the OS and supporting it. If you ask me, though, the implementation is still not ideal. I'd still like to access widgets that are embedded in my actual desktop in addition to in the "modal-ish" Dashboard layer, as well as being able to hide widgets behind hotspots around my monitor (like flip the mouse to a corner to bring up the calculator, flip it back to that corner to hide it again).

        Finally, Yahoo's decision to name their product Dashboard is really sad. Apple named theirs dashboard because they had no better name handy, and that was the easiest way to effectively communicate what the product is. The people who came up with the name Konfabulator really hit on a gold nugget from a sheer marketing perspective. Who doesn't want to own a 'Konfabulator?' Yahoo should have kept that name and leveraged it. It's akin to Apple buying the iPod from another company and then renaming it to 'MP3 Player.'

    • It all comes full circle!

      I think you meant to say that it all goes in one infinite loop.
    • More bloat I have no use for, eats memory and CPU and feeds you stupid ads.
    • Shiva Tapdancing Vishnu! That is the definition of an informative post. I, and I'm sure others, bow to your greatness and the wealthspring of information you have imparted upon us.
    • The article implies that widgets on the desktop were the only things being announced today, but Yahoo! also announced an interface that lets you navigate through web services on a TV [yahoo.com] using a Windows XP computer. Basically they've created a "10-foot user interface" that lets you view photos, listen to music, etc., using a TV as the center of attention and the Internet to retrieve extra content.

      Unfortunately it's not available yet, but I'm sure commenters can assure me that MythTV and FrontRow are superior t
      • Looks like too many people are using the xbox media centre, or saw em
        at a friends home. They get one, they love it, and see, WOW this is cool.
        Lets copy it and make millions.
    • Her dress sense is well, very crap.

      There are other lesbians who can dress sexy/nice or even stylishly, no need to look like a 12yo.
  • by ruiner13 (527499) on Friday January 06, 2006 @04:55PM (#14411785) Homepage
    It was Konfabulator 3 months ago, then it was Yahoo! Widgets, and now it is Yahoo! Dashboard? Are they trying to confuse people? I wonder if they'll have problems with Apple for using "Dahsboard".
  • Did Apple forget to copyright "Dashboard?"
  • Interesting naming choice seeing as Apples widget program has been called Dashboard for a while.
  • by Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) on Friday January 06, 2006 @04:57PM (#14411799)
    I already downloaded the Yahoo! Widget Engine. Why do I need Ellen Degeneres and Tom Cruise?
  • Does anyone else foresee Apple legal having a field day with the name "Yahoo! Dashboard"? If Dashboard is a trademark, as I would assume Apple legal would have assured, then how can Yahoo! get away with naming their equivalent service the exact same thing? It would be like Apple coming out with a web search called "Apple Yahoo!".
  • i don't know about you, but i hate that they re-branded Konfabulator as the Yahoo Widget Enginer. Another case of innovation-by-purchase. Now I wonder if the dashboard will give you a free stress test...
  • I'm conditioned to hit Windows-D to drop back to my desktop when I need to get back to my desktop. Unfortunately, this simple and practical key combination also hides the widgets from my view, making them much less useful.
    • If you hit the F8 key, it will bring up the "Heads Up Display"), showing you all your Widgets. If you hit Win+D, it will show you your desktop (which is sort of what Win+D is supposed to do). If you would rather use a Windows combination to see your desktop AND your Widgets, then hit Win+M, which will minimize all windows.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 06, 2006 @04:58PM (#14411818)
    They brought out Ellen DeGeneres to demo it, and Tom Cruise to show an MI: 3 trailer for some reason.

    Well, that covers the lesbian and gay community. No representation for us straight folks?

  • by minimunchkin (838824) on Friday January 06, 2006 @04:58PM (#14411819)
    Dashboard steels the look of Konfabulator, itself a stolen idea. Yahoo buys Konfabulator and steals the name of Dashboard. Whatever next?
  • So we have a /. story about how Yahoo! renamed Konfabulator? Really, is this worth a post? This is Digg quality frontpage stuff, not /.
  • Apple sues Yahoo! for trademark infringement.

  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@@@optonline...net> on Friday January 06, 2006 @04:59PM (#14411833) Journal
    ...but negative style points to Yahoo for trotting out Ellen Degeneres (really not that funny anymore) and Tom Cruise (Scientology poster boy and general nutcase). If these are the kind of people using Yahoo Go, I'll just do without thanks.
  • I'm sure this is how the show went:
    Cruise> Ellen, Ellen, I've never agreed with Yahoo, ever. Before I was a Scientologist I never agreed with Yahoo. And when i started studying the history of psychiatry, I understood more and more why I didn't believe in Yahoo.
    Ellen> But Tom..
    Cruise> Ellen, Ellen. As far as the Dashboard thing is, look. You gotta understand, I really care about the Dashboard. I-- I think here's a-- a-- a wonderful and talented piece of software. And-- I wanna see it do well.
  • *Another* "tool" my users can install to attract virii and spyware!
  • by jacobcaz (91509) on Friday January 06, 2006 @05:00PM (#14411847) Homepage
    The idea of a dashboard is okay, but the application it's useful has to be pretty specific. I run OS X and the only widgets I've found useful have been the weather widget and the calculator. I have the dashboard bound to one of my mouse buttons and I can call up a 5-day weather forcast or calculator at the click of a button.

    Otherwise I haven't been able to find another good application - that fits my needs - that I'm willing to give up RAM to.

    All of these dashboard ideas seem like a solution looking for a good idea - and from personal experience and talking to friends that idea hasn't really been found just yet.

  • Does anyone else foresee Apple legal having a field day with this? Judging from their past behavior, Apple legal is not the most lenient or forgiving group of people on Earth. One wonders how Yahoo! could justify releasing a product with exactly equivalent functionality, with the same name. It would be like Apple releasing a web search branded "Apple Yahoo".

    However, after perusing Apple's list of trademarks [apple.com], I don't see Dashboard. Maybe Apple legal slipped up and forgot to register this one. Still, I

  • Ellen DeGeneres is an authoritative source on technology, which is why Yahoo! has lured me into using their dashboard.
  • by RockClimbingFool (692426) on Friday January 06, 2006 @05:02PM (#14411870)
    Its called Yahoo Go and its derived from Konfabulator. Doesn't Konfabulator pre-date Apple's implementation of their Dashboard?
  • by PagosaSam (884523) on Friday January 06, 2006 @05:03PM (#14411882)
    10:40 Outside, a guy talking into his phone: "Well Steve Jobs is a fucking Jedi Master of this shit compared to these other clowns."

    I love this business!
  • 10:40 Outside, a guy talking into his phone: "Well Steve Jobs is a fucking Jedi Master of this shit compared to these other clowns."
  • So we have a /. story about Yahoo! renaming a product? Is this really even worth posting?
  • by tktk (540564)
    Yahoo Go ... is a revolutionary way to connect users to Web services they already use.

    The only thing revolutionary about it is from the spin the PR people wrote.

  • It looks awwwfully familiar.

    to what? i couldn't figure it out.
  • I fully understood what their new product is, and I must say it looks very cromulent.
  • OK, so Apple ripped off Konfabulator with OS X Tiger's Dashboard. Now Yahoo (who bought Konfabulator) are ripping off Apple by rebranding it "Yahoo Dashboard". Clever, since Dashboard is waaay more famous a brand than Konfabulator, but Apple can't sue Yahoo for ripping them off since if they did Yahoo would counter-sue on the basis that Apple ripped off Konfabulator.
    • No, Apple Dashboard ripped off Apple Desk Accessories, which is what Konfabulator ripped off when Apple dropped their old Desk Accessory model for a model where each Desk Accessory simply became a separate program.
    • That's ok, because it's called Yahoo Widgets [yahoo.com], not Dashboard. The article submitter lied, I guess, and Slashdot's "editors" did no fact-checking.
  • ...but negative style points to Yahoo for trotting out Ellen Degeneres (not very funny anymore, just pathetic) and Tom Cruise (Scientology postery boy and all-around nutcase) to promote Yahoo Go. If these are the people who are going to be using it, I'll pass.
  • Yahoo! purchased Konfabulator, and Dashboard is the re-launching of it.

    Funny, I thought Yahoo Widgets 3.0 was the relaunch of Konfabulator?
  • Has it gotten any better than back in the day? When I tried it out each module used up way too much memory.

  • When they tried to demo Yahoo Go TV with the music and movie content, the screen showed an error message. "And we know whose software this runs on," Rosensweig quipped.

    http://news.com.com/Yahoos+CES+demo+Mission+imposs ible/2100-1026_3-6021983.html?tag=nl [com.com]
  • Steve Jobs (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "is the fucking Jedi Master of this shit" sums it up...
  • reading this, my buddy and i chuckled over some web 2.0 parodies:

    it's Car 2.0! not only does it drive places like it always did, but we wacked on an Ambient Climate User Interface, and a Personal Music Delivery Interface!

    am just being dense, or does web 2.0 mean *anything* to non-marketing people?

  • Not Dashboard (Score:3, Informative)

    by hondo77 (324058) on Friday January 06, 2006 @05:12PM (#14411966) Homepage
    Yahoo! (wisely) isn't calling it "Dashboard". They're calling it Widget Engine [yahoo.com].
  • I've completely disabled Dashboard on my iBook. I can't see the advantage of it over standard desktop apps - especially given that they each use about 10MB of real RAM. Give me Calculator.app any day. Launches in a single bounce, and has a whole ton more functionality than the widget. Many if not most of the widgets don't take advantage of the ability to write Obj-C code, making them simple Javascript/HTML apps. Those things I'd rather look at in my browser window.
  • Will this let 3rd party developers access the APIs to implement their own things?

    I know I liked when google added widgets.

    OT: Why does it seem that Ellen Degeneres is advertising many things nowadays? (Eg: West Wing, AMEX, Yahoo)
  • OS X Tiger calls it's Konfabulator clone Dashbord.
  • Hmm. HTML/JS widgets on the desktop .. called Dashboard.

    Apple Lawyers seeking blood in 3 ... 2 ...
  • ...when Apple will announce a new internet-based business called Yahoo!
  • From TFA, it appears this thing installs a Yahoo! search bar between the speedometer and the idiot lights. Will it display pop-ups while I'm driving? Will it work on my '71 Econoline, or do I need to upgrade to a modern car?
  • the article seems kinda of skimpy on details, so you can find some more information here [yahoo.com]. It appears that Konfabulator/Yahoo! Widget Engine is just a part of Yahoo Go and Yahoo Dashboard.
  • Nice, now I don't have to buy a Mac.

    fp.
    1. Apple takes the idea of Konfabulator, integrates it with Mac OS X, and names it Dashboard
    2. Yahoo! buys Konfabulator and relaunches it as Yahoo! Dashboard
    3. Lawyers profit
  • I love the idea of Dashboard/Konfabulator whatever. I only dislike the amount of RAM it takes up.
  • Konfabulator is made. It is cool.

    Apple copies it, calling it "Dashboard". Konfabulator is pissed.

    Konfabulator is purchased by Yahoo, who rename it "Dashboard".

    Stop the world, I wanna get off.
  • ...while bashing Windows for messing up the demo, they also managed to tick off Mac and Linux users by noting that their video product is only available on Windows.

    ""And we know whose software this runs on," is one notable quote from the executives on stage.

    Well if it's such a crappy OS, why don't you make your spiffy product available to people who choose not to use it?
  • I predict a plethora of pithy pundits posting proclamations of the propriety of this product, pardoned by Apple's previous possible pilfering.
  • Apple legal are now looking for a time machine.
  • Wow, just think of all the things Ellen can't do. What a great public service from Yahoo!
  • "If you have some of the same problems dealing with things as Ellen"

    I don't have one problem at all with dealing with Ellen :)
  • At least when Microsoft steals an idea from Apple [apple.com], they have the decency to change the name.

    Sheesh.

  • by pyros (61399) on Friday January 06, 2006 @05:27PM (#14412128) Journal
    "we know who's software we're using."

    um .... yours?
  • I guess a Yahoo PR guy wanted a date with an Apple lawyer chick.
  • I can see a letter from Apple arriving at Yahoo HQ soon.
  • In Engadget's comment section, I followed the links to this 238 MB downloadable MP4 video file [ce.org]. Hopefully, it has the MI3 trailer (different from teaser trailer?). :)
    1. Apple takes Konfabulator's idea and integrates it into Mac OS X as Dashboard
    2. Yahoo! buys Konfabulator and relaunches it as Yahoo! Dashboard
    3. Lawyers profit
  • http://go.connect.yahoo.com/go [yahoo.com]
    And if the story submitter had typed "http://go.yahoo.com" into their address bar, they would have known this, too.
  • Google Base, Google Videos, Google + AOL! Oh no! Yahoo has to try to get into the media content production and distribution game before Google eats its lunch.
  • What goes around, comes around?
  • I RTFA, and I still have no idea what Yahoo Dashboard is, what it will do for me, or even what it looks like (apart from a crappy pic.)

    On the plus side, I did learn Tom Cruise separated six of his ribs while filming his latest explosion/car chase movie, and that there was a porn convention nextdoor to the place they were having the Dashboard presentation.
  • The widgets have exactly the same style as the ones in Apple's Dashboard... and it is called Yahoo Dashboard!? Surely this is illegal, illegal, and illegal.
  • by macsox (236590) on Friday January 06, 2006 @05:30PM (#14412163) Journal
    Lawsuit from Apple in 3, 2, 1...
  • I've got a mac, I used Konfabulator on that for a week. Then apple came out with Tiger and I used their Dashboard for about a week. Then I tried Yahoo! and their Dashboard. I used them all for about a week... but essentially it is all eyecandy with minimal functionalty. There is no time savings. I have weather in the bottom right of my mozilla firefox window and any other stock info or whatever, I can pull up in 10 seconds with my bookmarks. Dashboard and the like are a waste of CPU cycles with little value
  • by CODiNE (27417)
    They had the balls to name it DASHBOARD.
  • Both Tom Cruise and Ellen DeGeneres for the roll out .... now I can't help but be intrigued.

    Oh wait, no I can. None of the words Yahoo, DeGeneres, or Cruise make me interested in anything being said.

    *sigh* Maybe I'm just old and crotchety, but a (to me) irrelevant .com, a boring lesbian, and a scientologist don't really offer up much interest to me.
  • by cypherz (155664) * on Friday January 06, 2006 @05:34PM (#14412203)
    Other than Yahoo execs? I'm a Mac user, and while I thought Dashboard was pretty kewl at first, my enthusiasm quicky waned. Now I've disabled it. Most of the funchtionality of it was already available on various web pages, and I can close the browser down and reclaim resources. With Dashboard, those widgets are consuming memory and other resources even when Dashboard isn't showing. Will Yahoo's version act the same way? Maybe a Konfabulator user can weigh in on this.
    Mod this down as a troll, but I just can't care about Yahoo's version of Apple's version of Konfabulator. Big waste of resources.

  • I'm more shocked that someone's actually putting out Mission: Impossible 3
  • That "dashboard" comment came from the Engadget blogger hastily trying to describe Yahoo Widgets. Read the comments and the editor's note, and you'll see that it's good old Konfabulator, now with 45% more Corporate Branding.

    Nothing to see here. Please move along.

  • by jpellino (202698) on Friday January 06, 2006 @05:41PM (#14412268)
  • http://go.connect.yahoo.com/go/on_your_pc [yahoo.com]

    Most of it is "coming soon", but there's a signup to be notified when it is available. And of course the Konfabulator (sorry, Yahoo! Widgets) stuff is available right now.
  • I never noticed trademark infringement lawsuits smell like boiled peanuts until now.
  • I've tried. I've really, really tried to like dashboards, widgets, push info, whatever. You see, the thing is, there is only so much stuff I want to know on a CONSTANT basis. Clocks are nice, but guess what, THERE'S ALREADY A CLOCK ON MY COMUPUTER. Oh, well the widget clock looks analog? Well, that just justifies everying.

    Weather? I'm inside! I'll check the weather when I leave. Stock reports? I'm not a day trader. The bubble burst. Remember? CPU, memory usage? Ok, I'm a geek, but not that much of a geek.

    Wh
  • Is this the same teaser trailer or a new one? Is there a video of this (cammed?)? :)
  • Alex Trebek: And let's see what Tom Cruise put down for his Final Jeopardy response.
    He wrote "Yahoo Go". "Yahoo Go". And his bid?
    "For It." "Yahoo Go For It." Wonderful.

    Tom Cruise: Ha ha! Help me help you, Alex. Help me help you.
  • The name Dashboard has been used for similar products before. There was an app called Dashboard created by HP that dates back at least to the early 90's. It was sold to Borland, and later sold to Starfish, and I think may have been distributed with PC Tools for Windows (for Win 3.1) by Central Point. From what I remember about it, and what I've read about Apple's and Yahoo's apps, they sound similar.

    I'm not too familiar with Apple, so I don't know if they made anything similar to this prior to HP, but I
  • ... if you have some of the same problems dealing with things as Ellen

    Yeah ... like the opposite sex, for example. Seriously though, in spite of Yahoo's size and weight, it sure seems like they're a little bit desperate in the face of Google. Of course, that seems to apply to just about every company connected to the Internet nowadays.
  • When Apple decided to duplicate Konfabulator in Tiger, Apple fanboys respeonded to the critism by saying that Konfabulator is a ripoff of Desk Accessories?

    The idea that the creators of Konfabulator were thinking of Desk Accessories is extremly far fetched. Desk accessories was a bundle of mini desktop apps that were not network enabled. I guess any application than bundled 2 or more apps is a derivative of Desk Accessories?

    If anything, I would think that Pointcast and RSS would be the inspiration for Ko

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