Yahoo Oct. 28 launched Yahoo Open Strategy 1.0, the company's bid to unify the disparate user networks within Yahoo and allow outside programmers to develop applications that augment the user experience.
YOS includes a universal profile, basically a control panel where users can access and customize apps; a portable address book, allowing users to move their contacts to other Web sites; the ability to find new friends; and the option to share updates, such as ratings on Yahoo Movies or Yahoo Buzz content.
YOS is the company's push to make its Web properties more integrated and seamless for users at a time when users are increasingly integrating their Web services through singular home pages, such as iGoogle, or social networks such as Facebook and MySpace.
When Yahoo unveiled YOS last April, the company resisted the contention that it was essentially making Yahoo a social network for its hundreds of millions of users. But that is what it is, albeit at a greater scale than Facebook or MySpace. Note these comments from Jay Rossiter, senior vice president of Yahoo Open Strategy, about YOS:
"At a high level, we're rolling out a social platform that will draw on the hundreds of millions of connections on Yahoo-everything from random encounters with someone who commented on the same photo as you, to deep connections you have with friends who know nearly everything about you. By using the social contacts you already have on Yahoo-through Mail, Messenger, Flickr, Finance, Fantasy Sports, etc.-we'll make those social connections more active and useful."
How is that not a social network? The feat, if it works and users remain loyal toYahoo, will be nothing short of magical. Taking a portal chock-full of applications that largely didn't work with one another and "rewiring" them to interoperate is special.
So how did Yahoo do it? In short, lots of REST (Representational State Transfer) (as in APIs), a SQL-like query language, and OAuth. Here are the ingredients of YOS 1.0, according to Sam Pullara, vice president of the new Yahoo Application Platform.