The competition between Yahoo and Google is obvious. Both are search engines at their core (although Yahoo felt more like a portal, if anything) and both share similar services, such as providing free email, stock information, and weather updates, just to name a few. However if there is one area that Google has an edge over Yahoo it would be in mobile. After all Google has Android, which at the moment is the dominating smartphone operating system, but as the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them, and that’s exactly what Yahoo appears to be doing when they announced their acquisition of the Android launcher, Aviate.
This announcement was made by Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, at the company’s press conference during CES 2014. For those hearing about Aviate for the first time, this is an Android launcher that has managed to raise $1.8 million in a round of funding back in 2013. What makes Aviate different from other Android launchers is that it is contextual, meaning that the information displayed will change depending on your needs and your location, which is also similar to other Android apps we’ve seen in the past, such as the Cover lock screen and the Chameleon launcher. For example the widgets could change to more productivity options while at a workplace, or could change into more social options, such as Foursquare or Twitter, if it detects you are at a restaurant or a local attraction.
Since creating a new smartphone platform and having it compete against the likes of iOS and Android could prove to be an expensive venture with no guarantee of success, invading Android phones with a launcher might be the next best thing. Presumably we will see Yahoo attempt to integrate more of its services into the launcher, with search results and reviews provided by Yahoo, weather updates by Yahoo, and so on. As it stands Aviate is currently in private beta but Yahoo is wasting no time and has announced they will be opening it up to the first 25,000 participants who use the “YAHOO” code.