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Yahoo! Go! Going! Nowhere!

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Yahoo is shutting down its Go! service early next year, saying that it's easier to do things in mobile browsers these days.

Go! is a Java client, which was supposed to consolidate Yahoo's various services as well as providing a platform on which third-parties could deploy widgets. The problem is that they didn't, and Yahoo has decided that mobile browsers can do everything these days anyway.

It was originally a native application for Symbian and Windows Mobile, launched in 2006, but version two shifted to Java to support more devices and was launched as a beta product in January 2007. Back then Yahoo reckoned the Java app would "redefine the mobile Internet experience", and help Yahoo "to be the number one mobile Internet player globally".

But punters hate downloading applications onto mobile phones, at least they used to, and pre-installation didn't become as widespread as the company had hoped, so the service will be pulled from 12 January next year, with users receiving mail, and eventually an on-screen warning, recommending that they start using Yahoo's mobile portal instead.

That mobile portal supports mail, messaging and identity aggregation (Facebook, Bebo, etc), effectively making Go! redundant, which is why the company is running down the service.

The native-vs-AJAX debate is still running on the desktop, though AJAX seems to be in the ascendency. Mobile internet is different, notably in terms of the necessity of making maximum use of the available screen and intermittent connectivity; but both issues are becoming less pertinent and applications such as Google Maps for Mobile demonstrate that connectivity, at least, can now be expected.

So the pendulum swings and Yahoo stops spending money on native clients, at least until the next time they come into fashion. ®

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