Yahoo Social Platform, or YSP, is a suite of REST-based social APIs, including Profiles, Connections, Updates, Contacts and Status, for programmers. These services will let users write social applications on Yahoo or on their own Web site.
Yahoo Query Language, or YQL, is a new Web service API that lets programmers access other Web services using a SQL-like language. YQL is used to make data from Yahoo and from across the Internet universally accessible through one interface.
Yahoo said it will spend the rest of 2008 and part of 2009 integrating YSP and its components into Yahoo. Eventually, Yahoo expects apps like Yahoo Mail will let users filter their in-boxes to see e-mail just from social connections. Yahoo Mail, Messenger, the front page of Yahoo and My Yahoo will allow people to see what their connections have been doing across Yahoo and the Web.
Yahoo will need to take care here to keep from giving up too much information control. Remember Facebook's Beacon advertising effort? That plan ripped user privacy and users ripped Facebook.
The plan, coming after Yahoo opened its SearchMonkey platform, seems even more daunting now than when Yahoo announced it six-plus months ago. Since that time Microsoft has backed off from its hostile takeover attempt and Yahoo's stock price has taken a precipitous plummet.
No one knows whether YOS will save Yahoo; at the very least it offers a glimpse of how a large haven for Internet users might be brought more closely together.