The FINANCIAL — Executing on its open strategy,Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO) on December 15 unveiled enhancements across many of its most popular products that serve as starting points for consumers on the Web.
Earlier this year, the company made a commitment to re-wire Yahoo!, including deploying new platforms that add social functionality across the Yahoo! network, and opening up to integrate content and services from third-party developers and publishers.
According to Yahoo!, the innovations built through the Yahoo! Open Strategy (Y!OS) into Yahoo!'s market-leading products will help users keep up with the information and people they care about most, creating a more socially relevant Web experience. In addition, opening up Yahoo!'s products to third-party developers and publishers around the world promotes continuous innovation and expanded choice for Yahoo!'s audience of more than 500 million consumers. Today, Yahoo! is announcing several consumer product updates that demonstrate ongoing momentum for Y!OS, including:
Yahoo! Mail – Announced separately today,Yahoo! Mail's smarter inbox focuses on streamlining access to a user's most relevant and useful information. The new Welcome Page surfaces email messages, information and activity from people users care about most, and the integration of relevant third party applications will allow users to be more productive, all from within their inbox. The Yahoo! Mail smarter inbox is the company's largest-scale implementation of the Y!OS initiative to-date.
My Yahoo! – Beginning today, My Yahoo! users can enhance their personal start pages by adding applications created by third-party developers. Built using the Yahoo! Application Platform, these interactive "apps" will range from productivity tools to games, and will infuse My Yahoo! with new social relevance. Also being launched today, a new My Yahoo! Theme API lets third-party designers create and share their own look and feel for My Yahoo! pages, giving users access to an even wider range of creative backgrounds and styles.
Yahoo! Toolbar – Available for a sneak preview later this week at toolbar.yahoo.com, the new Yahoo! Toolbar will provide constant access to essential online tasks and up-to-the-minute news from the sources that matter most. Features of the new Toolbar that will rollout to users next year include:
Apps for checking new emails from Yahoo! and other popular Web-based email providers, monitoring or searching for items on eBay, and finding local movie showtimes.
Alerts that notify a user about Updates from their personal connections – including their friends' recent activity across the Yahoo! network and eventually, elsewhere on the Web.
Personal search suggestions that surface the sites a user has visited and provide vertical search results directly from the Toolbar.
Yahoo! Updates – In addition to surfacing friend updates in the new Yahoo! Toolbar and Mail, Yahoo! will begin sharing relevant updates within Yahoo! Music and Yahoo! TV. Yahoo! Updates enable Yahoo! users to have visibility into the online activities of their connections across the Yahoo! network, such as a recently Buzzed article, a hotel review in Yahoo! Travel, adding a new app to My Yahoo!, or a rating on Yahoo! TV. Earlier this fall, Yahoo! began displaying activity updates in Yahoo! Messenger and Yahoo! Buzz, and will include activity updates from other social sites across the Web in the coming months. The Yahoo! Updates platform is also available as an open API, allowing any site on the Web to submit activities into it.
"Yahoo! reaches one of the largest and most-engaged consumer audiences on the Web. As we enable more choice for our users and infuse social functionality across the Yahoo! network, we are delivering on our promise to create the best place for people to start online – and return to again and again – to get everything that is most relevant to them," said Ash Patel, executive vice president, Yahoo! Audience Product Division. "By opening up to third-party innovation on Yahoo!, we are also providing new opportunities for publishers, developers and ultimately advertisers to reach and connect with more than half of the world's online population."