Yahoo! pulls another 360

28 Apr 2008

In the face of an imminent takeover from Microsoft, Yahoo! has been beavering away on many new endeavours, the biggest of which is its desire to go social with all its online services, as announced at the Web 2.0 conference late last week.

Yahoo! Open Strategy (Y!OS) is almost like an extension of the existing social initiatives which Yahoo! currently belongs to, including OpenSocial and OpenID, and will go beyond its existing social networking service, 360.

With 500 million unique users per month who spend a total of 235 billion minutes on Yahoo! sites, the company has a “massive, latent social network” at its fingertips, said Neal Sample, chief architect for Yahoo! platforms on the company’s official blog, Yodel Anecdotal.

“We are rewiring Yahoo!, building platforms that fundamentally change how Yahoo! works,” said Sample.

“We’re also opening up to developers to take advantage of the social aspects of our many favoured destinations, creating what we call ‘vitality’ – a lifeline into what’s happening with your social connections.

“We plan to become the best platform on the web, where tens of thousands of developers will create applications and features (many we’ve never even thought of) for our network and our consumers.”

Previous social endeavours such as OpenSocial were not actually created by Yahoo! and are more of an open model for data or application portability across many websites, rather than a way of integrating social interaction within Yahoo! services.

OpenSocial was created by Google and is a set of programming tools developers can use to create web applications or widgets which can be used in a plug-and-play sense across many websites and social networks, including MySpace and Bebo.

OpenID, on the other hand, is a non-profit organisation of which Yahoo!, amongst others, is a corporate member. While not strictly social, this allows users to sign in to several different sites with one identity, cutting down on the need for multiple passwords.

Yahoo! has already incorporated OpenID into its services such as Flickr, MyBlogLog and Yahoo! Mail and may be using this as part of its Yahoo! Open Strategy social plan.

By Marie Boran