If you are a Yahoo! user, like me, you may be wondering why none of the dozens of killer AIR-app conversions that SHOULD BE available by now are nowhere to be found. I’m talking about a cool suite of Flickr, Maps, Upcoming, Del.icio.us, Mail, Sports and Answers that I’ve wanted but have yet to see. Having no idea what Yahoo! has under development (I doubt very much), an announcement recently came to suggest that the arrival of any cool Yahoo! AIR apps may never happen.
According to the site, BrowserPlus™ is a technology for web browsers that allows developers to create rich web applications with desktop capabilities. Sounds like AIR to me… but in another form, a system Yahoo! can deploy to exploit their existing products.
I have ideas as to why Yahoo! went this way. I sort of had a front row seat, before leaving just over a year ago, to discussions on what potential ‘desktop’ solution would be pursued. (That’s a whole other blog post in itself, I probably should never write.) Yahoo’s history is with the browser — they owe much of their early success to it. Nearly everything they do is on or about the browser. So it’s logical that they would go to the desktop through the browser.
Another big contributing factor is the rarity of AIR-capable talent available. This kind of talent has been streaming out of Yahoo! long before the threat (or promise) of Microsoft coming in. Only 2 people from both my Maps and Flash Platform teams still remain (that I know of).
So, I guess if we really want to see Yahoo! products/services in AIR, it’s up to us to build them. Most of the services I listed have APIs. Are there any AIR apps out there? Anyone got something in the works. Let me know. I’d love the combination of AIR and Yahoo!. I wish they did too.