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Yahoo Wants to be on the Social Networking Boat



For Yahoo it appears as if the good ship “Search Business” has left the dock and Yahoo is just waving as it goes yahoo-logomerrily off into the horizon. In other words, they missed the boat. We all pretty much know and accept that. Well, according to The Business Insider there is talk at Yahoo that they better get on the USS Social Networking vessel before it sets sail for good as well.

Is all the water and ship imagery making you a little nauseous? Imagine how the people at Yahoo have felt considering the rough ride they have had for quite some time now. In an effort to settle down and actually put together a strategy it appears as if social networking will be the focus moving forward. Yahoo’s CTO Ari Balogh stated yesterday that it could happen in a number of ways and untying the purse strings is one of them.

Yahoo is looking to buy companies that will allow it to become a bigger player in social networking and revamp its family of products

“It’s a good time to be buying now,” he told the Reuters Global Technology Summit, pointing to valuations that have come down from levels six to nine months ago.

This new look Yahoo is looking for a fall coming out party. If ever there was a company in need of some new attention and hope it is Yahoo. One thing that the company refuses to do, however, is fully move on from the beat down that Google has handed them in search.

While conceding that Google has “won the game” of search as we know it today, Balogh says search will be about much more than “10 blue links” in the future.

“The thing I will tell you is that, core to great experiences for people online may not necessarily be this version of search,” Balogh said. “I believe search is going to be far richer … there’s a whole other round or two to go in the search game and that’s where we intend on playing.

Since this kind of rhetoric about the future of search is coming from Yahoo it’s very hard not to simply say “Whatever!” There are still questions lingering as a result of the various CEO summits with Yahoo’s Carol Bartz and Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer. Will they partner or won’t they? Will it matter either way? You know that story.

Despite the premise of social networking as the future for Yahoo the search discussion still was a big focus for this interview.

Balogh said search technology is a vital part of the consumer experience that Yahoo delivers, “and having leading edge scientists and technologists who understand search technology and where search is going is critical to Yahoo.”

While it is certainly becoming widely recognized that social media and search are a strong marriage that could be a game changer it is still tough to think that Yahoo will be a leading player in anything search related considering their history. But hey, change is possible for anyone.

What made more sense was discussions around Yahoo’s moves into mobile applications and trying to tie together its huge community through social networking.

The new generation of social networking products is one area where Yahoo needs to “drive harder,” said Balogh. He cited new status update features that will be introduced across Yahoo sites in the coming months as an important part of Yahoo’s social strategy.

Yahoo’s vast number of users gives the company an extensive social networking backbone. That means Yahoo can quickly build-out its social infrastructure with “tuck-ins” of interesting products being developed by other companies, Balogh said.

So what is truly next for Yahoo? Well, really it needs to be less talk/hype and more action. Many feel that there is great opportunity for Yahoo to capitalize on its community but will this ship sail as well while they are still waving to who left the dock long ago with their search business?

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    Two of my favorites social networking tools are owned by Yahoo: Flickr and Delicious. Unfortunately for Yahoo, they've bought tickets for many ships, but they always seem to miss their boarding time. ;-)

  • Pingback: Yahoo getting social

  • http://www.earringsforever.com/ Earrings

    Too bad they always get beat. The applications I use from them are pretty robust, they just need fresh ideas.