Posted September 12, 2007 3:42 pm by with 9 comments

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yahoo_purple.gifIt must be Yahoo day today. Business Week reports that Yahoo is working to open up: not just in transparency, but in involving users—and especially user-developers—to improve Yahoo. Scott Moore, head of news and information for Yahoo’s Media Group, told Business Week, “We are trying to make Yahoo into more of an open platform that lots of people can plug into.”

The Business Week article also states that

The company is also working with partners to create applications that let users embed non-Yahoo sites and services onto their personalized Yahoo homepage. Yahoo says such steps are only the beginning.

These widgets, comparable to Google Gadgets or Facebook Apps, may not be the first of their kind, but could be a vital step in revitalizing Yahoo’s fortunes. Of course, My Yahoo has had “modules” for some time now, and it doesn’t seem to have helped.

They’ve already begun by releasing the source code to Yahoo Mail, which we noted earlier this week as one of the premiere Web email services and Yahoo’s underutilized potential strengths. Sue Decker said in July that they would like “activate” this dormant social network.

Brad Garlinghouse, author of last year’s Peanut Butter Manifesto and Senior Vice President of Communications, Communities, and Front Doors, forsees:

a future where Yahoo Mail could include a widget from Web invitation site Evite, a subsidiary of Yahoo competitor IAC/InterActive, that could let users share events with their Yahoo contact list. Garlinghouse also sees potential for Yahoo users to include links to profiles on social networks such as News Corp.’s MySpace within new Yahoo profiles. “We are going to experiment, we are going to take more risks,” Garlinghouse says.

Coming so soon after the announcement of Yahoo’s Right Media accidentally spreading a virus with its ads, it’s important to note that this open platform could encourage further virus and spam attacks. Business Week draws a parallel with Facebook Apps, which have had some struggles in these areas.

Of course, much of this is purely speculation. We’ll have to wait and see how much Yahoo will open up, if at all.

  • Yahoo day indeed.

    I think this is a good move for them. Time and time again it’s been seen that opening your business up to let outside developers improve your product is a good idea. It generally leads to an improved product and also builds a community around you that will champion your business.

    The virus attacks are a concern, but those are going to be concerns no matter. I think the potential good here outweighs the bad.

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  • As I note here:

    We *did not* release the source code to Yahoo! Mail.

  • I think it’s a great idea! Way to go Yahoo! Finally willing to “do what it takes”. Loved this by the way: “we are going to take more risks”. Go for it!! 😀

  • Everybody now will embed third-party apps into their sites. It’s really great for service developers because it means free user base and promotion.

  • Sounds like the right way to go. Personalization is the key to holding on to user base. And great news for the small applications and widgets developers.

  • I dont like Yahoo free mail service… there is so much SPAM and you cannot even filter it properly… but you can pay and get better Antispam which you get somewhere else for free. Anyway I belive Yahoo has still future and it is needed to compete with Google.

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  • Antonio Carlos

    Hi, everybody!

    I don’t want to be in the pessimistic side here but I want to warn you that Yahoo now is Microsoft and it is going to be the all-seeing-eye for MS on behalf of their new OS. Control is the name of the game. Intrigue? Be patient. Wait and see!