When you are late to the game, trying to rename it doesn’t win you any points. Monday, Yahoo (YHOO) announced that it is finally adding basic status updates to its Mail and Messenger products, which it is calling “status-casting.” In both Yahoo Mail and Messenger 10, you can update your status and all of your contacts who also use either of those two products can see your updates. You can also choose to see your friends’ updates from a variety of social media sites across the Web—such as Yelp, YouTube, and Twitter— right in your Mail homepage or IM stream.
Yahoo is making its communications products more social by combining private and public message streams in much the same way that AOL added lifestreaming to AIM last month. (That’s right, AOL beat Yahoo to this feature set by more than a month).
On the one hand, Yahoo wants to use the popularity of Yahoo Mail (which is the No. 1 Web mail service with 300 million people using it worldwide) to get into the micro-messaging game. Just like it did with Yahoo profiles at the beginning of the year, you can now add 140-character updates via Yahoo Mail to other people on Yahoo. It also lets you and keep track of what your contacts are doing across other social sites. These appear under a new updates section on the Yahoo Mail landing page.
Yahoo Messenger lets you do the same things—create updates across your Yahoo network and see updates from your IM buddies happening elsewhere. But it doesn’t appear to be a two-way connection. You can read your friends’ updates on Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Flickr, YouTube, Digg, and elsewhere, but you can’t always reply from within Yahoo Messenger or Mail so that your reply appears back in the original service. If you want to respond to a friend’s Tweet, you can IM them back with a copy of their Tweet attached, but you can’t simply generate a new Tweet in response like any Twitter client could.
It’s not really status-casting, or whatever you want to call it, unless you can broadcast your status back across non-Yahoo services.
(Photo credit: Flickr/Andrew Sea)