For more than a year, Yahoo has been adding social features to make its email platform look more like Facebook; now, it’s rolling out a change that just brings part of Facebook itself to Yahoo mail.
The move is another step in Yahoo’s attempt to keep up with competitors in social networking without relying on a social network it builds itself.
Since Monday night, some Yahoo users have been able to see and respond to updates from the Facebook news feed within the Yahoo email platform. And if users get email updates from Facebook sent to their Yahoo address, they’ll be able to reply to the post directly in the message without having to go to Facebook. Other users will be receiving the features in the coming weeks.
Yahoo’s take on the world of social networking is not to have their own platform but to be an aggregator of various social outlets. If they can keep people engaged on Yahoo properties longer by including more areas of their online lives into the experience then they can sell more ads against that experience. Sounds simple enough but whether it is actually effective is another story.
I have used a Yahoo e-mail address for many, many years. Over the past year I have enjoyed their homepage ‘news’ delivery when I go to check my e-mail. I have gotten some real good information from that experience. But like one Yahoo exec put it
“We’re more of an aggregator rather than a core social network,” Mr. Titus said. “If you want to do deep things in Facebook you go to Facebook,” he added.
While I would rarely confuse my Facebook activity with something ‘deep’, I have to agree that what I want to do on Facebook will be done on Facebook. Yahoo gives me an e-mail platform and some news. That’s enough for me. Why should I give another company information about me (because you need to connect to Facebook from Yahoo) when it appears that we all have enough to worry about just from Facebook itself?