Yahoo unveils social platform strategy

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Yahoo has announced a bold new initiative which sees the company aiming to recast itself as a major online developer platform, much like Facebook.

But Yahoo's chief technology officer, Ari Balough told delegates at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco last week the company was not "creating yet another social network".

Instead, Yahoo will re-jig several of its online services, from search, web mail and address books, enabling users to manage information from a single place and share it with online contacts – what Yahoo refers to as an open 'social platform'.

This social platform will be opened up to developers and because Yahoo is part of the OpenSocial initiative, applications will work on other social networks, such as Google and MySpace – though not Facebook.

But noticeably absent from the fanfare surrounding Yahoo's proposals was any mention of Microsoft. The software titan's bid to acquire Yahoo still looms large. Yahoo executives will hope that this new strategy reassures its shareholders that the company has the wherewithal to survive alone.

Version 1.0 of Y!Open is expected to go live before the end of the year.

Yahoo has kicked off the work with its new Search Monkey developer platform. Search Monkey will allow developers and site owners to use semantic web standards to ensure Yahoo's search results are more "useful, relevant and visually appealing", the company said.

The Search Monkey developer launch event will take place at Yahoo's Sunnyvale, California, campus on 15 May.
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