There has been a lot of back and forth about whether the del.icio.us – Yahoo deal makes sense. In my opinion, it does. Yahoo’s tagging strategy was incomplete without it, and not just becase My Web 2.0 has not been that big a success – so far.
I strongly believe that for a social system to be successful, it needs to serve the selfish, individual motive. The beauty of tagging is how well the individual and the social complement each other. Tags on Flickr are more about the social, about sharing. But tags are also about personal findability. And from what I understand of Joshua Schacter’s views, he is lot about personal findability with tags. This is important. For tagging to scale, the personal motive needs to be served. For tagging to really make a difference at Yahoo, they need both the Flickr and del.icio.us brains working together.
Interestingly, there is a parallel to this at Google (usage of tags for personal and social). Gmail was the first major use of tags for personal findability. And it is a successful usage without a social component! The usage of tags in GoogleBase is significiant, since it is Google’s first foray into tagging with a social component. As a note, they are choosing to call it labels, rather than tags (from a post on GoogleBase blog).