Yahoo to Open Up IM Platform

Yahoo plans to open up the platform behind its Yahoo Messenger instant messaging (IM) service. The online services company will offer a Yahoo Messenger IM API.

Yahoo plans to open up the platform behind its Yahoo Messenger instant messaging (IM) service.

In a June 14 blog post, Dudley Wong, Yahoo Messenger's product manager, said Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo will open up the platform so that developers to build applications on top of it.

Indeed, Yahoo will release a new Representational State Transfer (REST) based API for developers to use to gain access to the Yahoo Messenger platform. In his post, Wong advised developers to check the Yahoo Developer Network on June 30 for more information about the API and the process of opening up the platform.

Yahoo Messenger is an advertising-supported instant messaging client and associated protocol from Yahoo. The service competes for attention with the likes of AOL's and Microsoft's IM offerings.

Wong called the opening of the Yahoo Messenger platform "big news." He added, "Yahoo Messenger is the premier instant messaging platform, used on a wide variety of desktop and mobile clients. Millions of users throughout the world already depend on Yahoo Messenger to manage their social contacts, group lists, and presence information; hold real-time instant communications; and perform data transfer to and from contacts throughout the world."

Meanwhile, Wong said Yahoo has been listening to developers who have said they want to build on a trusted platform. "By exposing a new RESTful API for Yahoo Messenger, we're allowing you to develop your own innovative programs and tools that make the most of what the Yahoo IM platform can offer," he said. "Developing for the platform is simple. All you need is a little knowledge of HTTP and JSON [JavaScript Object Notation], and you'll be connecting with people across the world in no time, no matter what programming environment you're using. And from there, just let your imagination run wild with the groundbreaking applications you can create."

It is no surprise that JSON should play a key role in the development process, as Yahoo employs JSON creator Doug Crockford as a senior architect.

Meanwhile, in related news, Yahoo also announced the availability of the Yahoo Messenger One app in beta at CommunicAsia 2010 on June 14. According to the Yahoo Messenger team blog, Yahoo Messenger One was conceived on the premise of wanting to create an integrated and easily accessible communication experience for new-to-net mobile users, offering them a central point for their communication and content needs while on the go.

Also in the post, Karen Yeo, a member of the Yahoo Messenger team, says, "The beta launch of Yahoo Messenger One represents a refreshing approach to all your communications needs. How so? Simply put, this all-in-one universal address book and communications hub enables you to find, connect and communicate with friends the way you want, whether it's email, instant messaging or SMS - it's your choice."

The Yahoo Messenger One beta is currently available for Blackberry 9000, Blackberry 9700, Blackberry 8900, and Blackberry 9630 devices.