Hold on Web 3.0, Yahoo! to Launch Web 2.5

Social networking is about to take a new turn in the coming months. Yahoo! is in the process of releasing its Open Strategy with the goal of connecting more people in more ways than ever before.

There are more social networking sites on the web than any one person could use or keep up with. There’s Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, not to mention Netflix, eBay, or other sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, or Reddit, and that doesn’t even cover the various mail and address book services like Gmail, MSN, and Yahoo.

On the surface, Facebook and eBay do not appear to have anything in common, but they do: they both involve social activity on the web. But there’s nothing linking them together. If you want to tell your wife you outbid the competition for a brand new football-shaped lamp for the bedroom, you can’t tell her through eBay, you have to switch to your email and copy and paste links. Or let’s say you read about a movie you think your mom might enjoy. You can’t contact her directly through Netflix to make your recommendation. Once again, you have to open your email account.

Yahoo wants to change all that through a revolutionary transformation by breaking down barriers and unifying the web. Speaking of unification, did you realize that Yahoo sits on Google’s OpenSocial board, and they meet once a week?

Yahoo! is rolling out a platform approach for the web that combines online activities through a unified identity, connects users, and provides activity updates—all through an access layer—regardless of whether you and your friends are on Yahoo or not.

For this to work, the following must happen:

  1. Developers like you need to create the applications.
  2. Yahoo and the third-party sites need to approve the applications.
  3. Users need to find and use the applications.
  4. Most importantly, the users’ friends must reciprocate.

To help developers meet the first requirement, Yahoo released YQL (Yahoo Query Language), which is basically the same as SQL except that it is extended to model and fit web services. This week, Yahoo is revealing more about the developer side of this social transformation.

Users already meet the third and fourth requirements all the time. For example, would you be on Facebook if your friends weren’t there? Would you have an e-mail program if you had no one to send e-mail to? So why wouldn’t Yahoo’s platform work?

For a glimpse of what is to come, download and install Instant Messenger Beta 9. This latest version has a bunch of new options. For example, if you use Blogger or Facebook, you can add a PingBox, which allows you to support an IM application. The thing works great. I installed it on a personal blog of mine this morning, asked a friend to test it, and the next thing I knew, he added it to his blog.

I could go on and on about this, but I’ll let Cody Simms’, Senior Director, Product Management for the Yahoo Open Strategy, blog do all the talking. There’s a presentation there to help developers get to work.

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