Yahoo Opens Up

It seems that Yahoo is finally opening up the way in the past it has said it wants to and it’s with an application platform. There was a demo today that TechCrunch, Venture Beat and others covered that seems to be the next step in Yahoo’s YOS and Yahoo Developer Network. You can head over to TechCrunch to get the full details on what Yahoo demo’d but I’ll summarize some here and add in my own thoughts.

My feelings it that it’s about time Yahoo did this. I mean really, why did this not happen earlier. Surely Yahoo had people smart enough to do this. With all of the properties that Yahoo has bought in the past couple of years(upcoming, flickr, del.icio.us, etc) and properties they already have(Yahoo Games, Sports, Finance, Buzz, Music, etc),  this seems a no brainer to me. This is also the type of thing that if they can pull off right that could lead to the resurgence of Yahoo. The big thing will be user adoption, which is kinda a no brainer, and Yahoo has the resources to do this. They still have a frontpage that has a tremendous amount of traffic along with a massive amount of user accounts so the possibilities are there.

There are some interesting things that I want to point out. The first is that yahoo doesn’t want sites to send back information to it, but also it sending information to other sites about you. From TechCrunch:

Yahoo wants to provide a two-way updates platform that also pushes data updates back out  to other services. So if someone does something on Digg, Yahoo can then inform a site  like CNN of that action. It’s like Facebook Beacon but it doesn’t just drive data to Yahoo,  it also syndicates data out to any number of sites. Also, it supports not just status-like  messages but large data pushes (images, etc). All of the permission controls apply to  these updates as well.

While Facebook just kinda does it, I like that you have control over the access and what is sent out. More from TechCrunch report:

Yahoo will make sure that users know exactly how programs will access their information,
and the prompt should look fairly scary (”skull and cross bones”) so users actually think
about it (they appear to be contrasting their method with that of Facebook’s). This will
encourage developers to do the right thing. This warning and permission granting system
will hold true whether the user is installing something onto Yahoo or using an app off
Yahoo that accesses Yahoo data.

I like this. I think its good that they do something that will get peoples attention when something happens. We tend to just glaze over when we see another security popup.

There are a couple of quotes that I remember hearing but can’t find links to them right now. One was from John Dvorak on one of the TWIT shows which is that yahoo was kinda the first social network in the late 90’s early 2000’s with Yahoo Groups and another was this from the Web Publishing Blog:

Take a closer look at the companies. Compare Google Finance to Yahoo Finance. One of these companies needs an engineer with a cup of coffee, the other needs an engineer, editor, and staff.

While the rest of the post goes on to state that Yahoo will ultimately lose the battle with Google because data is better than content and Yahoo is a walled garden so to speak, it seems that the tide is changing. Now, I don’t think that Yahoo should try and take on Google directly, that would be suicide. This seems more like a play against MySpace, Facebook and the plethora of start pages on the internet.

Overall, this is a play for yahoo to become the start page and social network of internet and future and it could play out well for them if they can execute it. Of course that depends on a couple of things, namely being able to stay afloat during these economic times, keeping the right people around and having time from the yahoo board and shareholders to complete this. Something tells me with the way that the economy is that Jerry Yang still doesn’t have a long leash and if the price of yahoo stock falls too much or a good offer comes along the yahoo shareholders will take it this time around.

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