Earlier this week Yahoo announced that it would be tweaking its mail and messenger services to be more social by letting users update their status, share photos easily and partake in video calls.
Along with the new and improved mail and messenger programs, Yahoo plans to overhaul its search engine with a new results page that will let users retrieve the content they’re looking for, without leaving the safety of the results page.
The idea behind these upgrades comes in two flavors: firstly Yahoo hopes to bring in more people who are not already familiar with the inner workings of their products, as well as to entice those that are already using Yahoo products to spend more time on their site. “Our user base grows when things are simpler and more delightful,” said Elisa Steele, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Yahoo.
There was also an acknowledgement that Yahoo’s new hope page was being worked on, but wasn’t done just yet.
iGoogle already gives you plenty of ways to keep in touch, whether it be Gmail, Latitude or keeping up with the day’s news. But, never one to leave well enough alone, the folks at Google have decided to bolster their army of gadgets in the interest of making iGoogle a more social experience.
When's the last time you surfed on over to your Pligg and updated what you were doing for the entire Internet to see? What about Elgg? Have you changed your favorite movies to reflect that big blockbuster hit you saw this weekend? You probably don't have to, because all of your friends using the Tweetero client on their iPhones could just log on and see exactly what you were up to. Or not. Because you aren't on Twitter -- you're on Identi.ca, the open-source equivalent of the popular messaging program.
Unlike the open-source software world, where even the smallest gems of programs can find a meaningful existence, the open-source social networking world depends on people. Masses of people. You can't just launch a new social networking platform and expect it to flourish if it doesn't have a decently sized audience. And you're never going to pull away the users that are already comfortable on their existing Web 2.0 platforms if you just imitate the best practices of the current litany of sites. But that's what's happening in the open-source social networking world right now. There's a healthy mix of innovation and duplication, giving some segments of the online world new and interesting applications... and others with their 25th version of Twitter.
Which areas of social networking are dead zones for open-source development? Click the jump to find out!
A large part of the Web as we know it today is built around independent communities. Think about it. You have a login for your Twitter account, a login for your Facebook account, a login for your [insert favorite Web site here] account. And while each of these independent entities can play with each other via plugins, coding trickery, or outright hacks... you're still stuck in three separate sandboxes at the end of the day. Does Twitter know what I like on my Facebook page? Can Amazon take a gander at my current interests and suggest related purchases? Do any of these sites know who my friends really are--not just the people I tweet, but the people I email on a regular basis?
While that's the current state of social affairs on the Web, it's not necessarily the future. Open-source projects like OpenID are paving the way for a new generation of connectivity, one where differing Web entities come to you for information and display it in a format and location of your choosing. Instead of jacking your life into the Web on a variety of fronts, you will have one point of interaction, one location to present your information. Your interaction with your typical litany of sites will become highly accurate and customized for your lifestyle. And best of all, you won't have to login to 85 different places to make it work.
Learn how OpenID has played a role in this transformation after the jump!
Microsoft's not exactly a new kid on the software block, but it's also never been part of the 'in-crowd' either, which makes its latest experiment that much more interesting. While services like Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace dominate the social networking landscape, Microsoft will try to take a different approach with a new web service called Vine.
The service debuted in beta form today in Seattle and serves as a dashboard for users to stay connected with family, friends, and community events. True to Microsoft form, Vine makes its way onto desktops as a widget. On the main screen sits a map of the user's community and contacts status. But the real potential, says Microsoft, is in promoting Vine as a type of emergency broadcast system, both for emergency management officials and for family and friends to update their status during a disaster.
"I think long-term this is probably going to be a very valuable tool to help people keep connected, not only during times of crisis but on a daily basis," said Hillman Mitchell, the city of Tukwila's emergency management coordinator.
Vine, which is being made available to more than 10,000 testers from the outset before expanding into other test markets, is debuting with more than 20,000 media sources and public safety organizations, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Microsoft has posted a video demo of the service, which you can view here before hitting the jump and telling us what kind of future you see for Vine.