From portal to platform: Yahoo's push via the inbox

From portal to platform: Yahoo's push via the inbox

Summary: One of Yahoo's most valuable properties is its web mail service, which has more members and gets more traffic than mail services provided by Google, MSN and AOL. Yahoo Mail was once part of the portal, another offering along side things like photo services, stock portfolios, alerts and other services under Yahoo's "portal" umbrella.

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One of Yahoo's most valuable properties is its web mail service, which has more members and gets more traffic than mail services provided by Google, MSN and AOL. Yahoo Mail was once part of the portal, another offering along side things like photo services, stock portfolios, alerts and other services under Yahoo's "portal" umbrella. Now, according to an entry on GigaOm, Yahoo is gearing up to use the popular mail service as the platform that would host other tools and features. And many of those could be created by third-party developers, which is part of Yahoo's bigger push into open-source.

Regardless of what happens to Yahoo's CEO, stock price or even a deal with Microsoft, there's no denying that the mail feature is one of the company's biggest assets. So it makes sense that Yahoo would look for a way to open mail as a means of keeping people on that site longer and getting them to engage with other services or features. Think of it being more like what Facebook is becoming (but not quite there yet.) Within the Facebook platform, there's e-mail and IM. But there's also photos and videos and notes. And then, of course, all the funky, silly stuff (good karma, virtual snowballs, cans of whoop-ass) that gets shared among friends in your Facebook network.

The details of what Yahoo is planning to roll out are few. But the GigaOM post notes that a beta launch of the program is expected soon and that it will likely include a half-dozen small apps built into a sidebar running inside the mail client. (Evite is believed to be one of the first.) In addition, user address books would open to the doors to the social graph that could turn Yahoo into a social networking experience where the "friend list" has been in the works for years, instead of starting from scratch.

On another note, it's encouraging to see the company move forward with innovative plans, despite what's happening around it. The buzz in the blogosphere this morning is that the previously-announced layoffs could be implemented as early as this week. It's believed that 1,500 jobs could be eliminated but some reports say that number could be higher.

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Topics: Open Source, Banking, Browser, Social Enterprise

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3 comments
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  • Following AOL's move?

    AOL has revamped the AOL Webmail with a sidebar to
    keep things tidy and quick. Also, a secondary system
    written in Silverlight provides an even faster and
    polished feel. So, with the success of this newest
    release does this mean Yahoo is following AOL's bold
    move?
    tigger71677
  • Yahoo! Mail can go h...

    I was a paid customer of their mail
    services for years. Their stupid
    billing system failed on my card this
    year, they deleted my Mail Plus
    account privileges immediately (all my
    addressguard addresses lost). When I
    opened tickets several times asking
    for instructions on how to pay, they
    NEVER answered

    Nobody cared. I guess they think they
    are too important to do that.
    markbn
  • RE: From portal to platform: Yahoo's push via the inbox

    Wow, what a novel idea.
    crljones