Yahoo has talking about open initiatives for some time: last September, Business Week foreshadowed the coming of SearchMonkey. In November and again in January they talked about bringing a social network to your Yahoo Mail inbox. A month ago, they signed on to OpenSocial.
While these look like two different efforts in social areas and open areas, Yahoo unites these areas in their open strategy, and brings in three more areas:
- Open services
How many different Yahoo profiles do you have? I don’t even really use Yahoo and I couldn’t begin to tell you how many different profiles I must have: Yahoo 360, Mash, Groups, Mail, etc. etc. Well, as part of YOS, this phenomenon will be no more: Yahoo will roll out a single, unified platform for all their services. They’ll also emphasize the current strength of their platform: Yahoo Mail will be the centerpiece of the new Yahoo.
The move is probably wise: by integrating existing services instead of building out yet another site for people to have to join, Yahoo may well be insuring a high adoption rate for its new social efforts.
In addition to OpenSocial, Yahoo will also be further developing its current APIs to give developers better access to their platform. Additionally, Yahoo will rollout the Yahoo Application Platform (YAP) to host developer apps for free (up to a certain level of usage). YAP is slated to rival Google App Engine.
That’s right, a search engine/social network/platform that really wants to be committed to data portability. They’ll let developers move data from within the network to outside of it—and not just through portable widgets. An example Balogh gave was integrating the Yahoo contacts list with Plaxo.
Check out TechCrunch to find Balogh’s full presentation and Mike Arrington’s positive take on YOS.
Thus far, there aren’t any dates or specific roll out plans attached to the recently revealed information, so it will remain to be seen whether these promises will ultimately materialize. But what do you think? Will these efforts be enough for Yahoo to be (or remain) a serious competitor to Google?
And perhaps more importantly with a certain deadline looming tomorrow, will these announcements make any difference to Microsoft?