Yahoo! founders Jerry Yang and David Filo in their early days at Stanford
Today is Yahoo!’s 15th birthday – hooray! It’s been a long ride and we’re grateful that our users, all 600 million of them, have come along for the ride.
We’ve had the unique opportunity to help create an industry and shape the online world, and will continue to focus on the values that brought us here —working hard, having fun, being passionate about your ideas, believing in each other, and always trying to invent the future. And as we celebrate 15 years today, we are even more excited than ever about what lies ahead, and the potential of Yahoo! and the Internet.
Of course, founders Jerry Yang and David Filo didn’t set out to start one of the world’s largest Internet companies or to lead a movement that has changed the world. They were just a couple of Stanford graduate students doing our research (supposedly) while their professor was on sabbatical.
More interesting than their research was their total fascination with the web and all the cool stuff it suddenly made available. But it was incredibly hard to keep track of the thousands of great websites sprouting up everywhere. Jerry and David thought it would be fun to catalog the sites by developing a simple directory. So all this began with nothing more than a hobby to help other early Internet users.
They soon learned a huge lesson just as relevant today as then: change and growth on the Internet happen at warp speed—especially if you’re filling a need. With the proliferation of websites and with hundreds of thousands of people accessing the Yahoo! guide, it was simply impossible for Jerry and David to continue doing this on our own.
Internet growth continues to be simply phenomenal, and we’re nowhere near done. Fifteen years ago, there were 18,000 web sites and fewer than 10 million people globally on the Internet—less than one third of a single percent of the world’s population at the time. Today there are more than 200 million websites with 90,000 created daily. There are estimated to be 1.6 billion people on the internet today—about 25 percent of the world’s population.
These numbers are astonishing, but even more important and more exciting is the impact that the Internet is having on so many people around the world. From socio-economic opportunities to more accessible health care to educating the next generation and beyond, the Internet has changed the way we live, work and learn. It has overcome geographic and political barriers and has made it possible for people to raise their voices as they seek greater economic opportunity and freedom. And Yahoo! has been a leader in enabling these tremendous technological advancements every step of the way.
All this in just 15 years. Yahoo! has been built by thousands of dedicated employees, hundreds of millions of loyal users and scores of advertisers who envisioned a future that was exciting, challenging and at times daunting. We are confident that 15 years from today, we will look back in marvel at how far you, and the Internet have traveled in such a short time. Just as we are doing today.
Thanks to you, the users, for continuing to support us and use products like Yahoo! Messenger. We’ll be celebrating at all the Yahoo! offices today and know that if we could, we’d send each of you a slice of Yahoo! birthday cake.
In case you missed this story on the Yahoo! homepage today…
Earlier this week, a woman in northern Germany sat down at her computer to tune into the sunset over the North Sea. Tune in? Yes, she was watching via a tourist webcam that overlooks the sea in the town of St. Peter-Ording, Germany.
While she was watching, she noticed periodic flashes of light from the ice. Turns out they were from a man’s camera. He was using it as a sort of S.O.S. beacon after wandering out onto the ice to photograph the sunset. But he quickly became disoriented, unsure how to get back to shore.
From hundreds of kilometers a way, the woman contacted police, who located the man’s signals and guided him into shore by flashing their car lights.
At the time the man lost his bearings, the air temperature was below freezing. He could have frozen to death or fallen through the ice, added police spokeswoman Kristin Stielow.
Stielow said locals are well aware of the risk of disorientation as darkness falls and the beach becomes hard to identify, but vivid sunsets over frozen landscapes often draw people away from the shore.
You can view the St. Peter-Ording webcam here, though the attention from this news story seems to have crippled the site. So bookmark it and check it out in a couple of days. Or check out some of the St. Peter-Ording pics from Flickr below.
This week, we’ve launched the first-ever Yodel Studio where Yahoo! users can come and record their personalized version of our famous brand sound.
That’s right, the catchy Yahoo! trademark, which is part song, part celebration shout, is ready for you to modify, mix and simply make your own. Be loud, be funny, be serious or be seriously silly, but most of all just be YOU! Just head over to the Yodel Studio, plug in your webcam, select a background track and…Yodel! If you need inspiration, there’s some samples to inspire you.
No webcam? Just use your video phone or camcorder to record your yodel, then upload it here. And if you want to really go all out, you can even download the backing tracks to edit and mix your Yodel at home. Then upload it through the site.
Last Friday, the San Jose Mercury News ran a story on Global IP Solutions (GIPS), the company that provides the video and audio technology that powers this new feature. Some of the article is reprinted below; read the full article here.
SAN FRANCISCO — It’s a sparkling morning in the South of Market neighborhood, the city’s tech ghetto. But at Global IP Solutions, the light outside Niklas Enbom’s office is shading toward an evening blue.
Enbom is on a video chat to Global IP Solutions’ San Francisco headquarters from Sweden, where it is nine hours later and dusk is fast approaching. The company, which typically uses its acronym GIPS, provides the underlying video and audio technology for the newly released version of Yahoo Messenger video chat, the service the Swedish executive is using to connect from Stockholm. GIPS also provides the audio technology for Google’s competing service within Google Talk.
Enbom, GIPS’s vice president for software development, is saying that a $70 webcam connected to virtually any PC or Mac built in the last few years with a broadband Internet connection will produce a high-quality video chat experience, even to countries that lack the robust telecom infrastructure of the United States.
“A standard PC can do this in real time, with good quality,” Enbom says over the video link.
Even from Sweden, his lips move in almost perfect synchronization with his words, and the audio quality is comparable to a landline telephone connection. The video is good enough to notice that it’s around sunset in Stockholm, where a large portion of GIPS’s engineers are based.
In short, the technology is good enough that you start to forget about the technology, and concentrate on the conversation.
For decades, ever since Dick Tracy made calls through the video screen on his wristwatch, video chat has been a personal technology everybody could imagine using, but that — for an array of technology, standardization and sociological reasons — few have actually used. A survey this spring by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that only about 20 percent of adult U.S. Internet users have participated in a video chat… Read the full article