Yahoo Today: Adding Value?

| About: Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO)

Yahoo has invited the press to an event in San Francisco today where it will announce the next steps in its open strategy (details found here).

As GigaOm speculated over the weekend, we should be hearing details about the deployment of applications on Yahoo Mail. We’ll post the details here as they become available, starting within the next few minutes.

WordPress CEO Toni Schneider is here, along with someone from Xoopit, which suggests that both companies will have integrations to announce.

The event has begun. We’re told that today’s announcements will be primarily about how the open strategy adds value for the end consumer, with a focus on several product launches (from both Yahoo and its developer partners). Yahoo Mail, My Yahoo, Yahoo Toolbar and Yahoo’s media properties will all benefit from “openness” enhancements today.

Yahoo Mail will get a new open, social inbox. My Yahoo will receive an upgrade. And the media properties to become more open include Yahoo Music.

Yahoo Mail

Yahoo Mail has 275 million monthly global users worldwide according to ComScore. It pulls together email, instant messaging, and SMS.

The new, smarter inbox will help users prioritize the email messages that matter the most to them. It will also help users perform tasks without pulling them out of Yahoo Mail (such as viewing photos and invitations from non-Yahoo services). The two key buzzwords Yahoo is using are “social” and “open” to describe their overall strategy with Mail.

Yahoo is showing us a demo. There are applications in the sidebar for Flixster, Flickr, Photos by Xoopit, Family Journal, and WordPress. The “Welcome” dashboard shows messages, invitations, and “updates” from the people that matter to users most. The dashboard also displays “invitations to connect” (evidently, once connected with someone, their actions will begin showing up on your dashboard because they will have deemed important to you).

When you view your inbox, you can choose to view messages from just your “connections”, letting you filter out all of the email that ostensibly means less to you. Contacts (which includes everyone in your address book) are different than connections, which are suggested by Yahoo’s algorithm and explicitly identified by users. Invitations to connect are either generated by Yahoo’s algorithm or sent manually by your contacts.

Connections appear to be like “friendships” on social networks like MySpace and Facebook, but Yahoo is insisting that the relationships will be used in a variety of ways not found on traditional social networks (such as this mail filtering).

Six applications for Yahoo Mail are launching today. Four are third party applications (Flixster, Xoopit, Flickr, and WordPress) and two are from Yahoo (Yahoo Greetings and Family Journal).

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