Yahoo and Facebook have struck a content deal that will see Yahoo News in the U.S. and IntoNow from Yahoo integrated with Facebook. Yahoo News is the leading online news destination on the web with more than 80 million unique visitors a month. IntoNow is a mobile app that lets people discover and discuss TV shows.
The partnership, announced this week at Facebook's f8 Developer Conference, puts Facebook in the position of using Google's competitors against it as it works to hold back the momentum of Google+.
Yahoo described the new phase of its Facebook partnership as part of its strategy to infuse social and personalized experiences across the company's global portfolio of premier digital media content. Blake Irving, chief product officer at Yahoo, said the company's audience is more than ever looking to "friends for inspiration on what to read and watch" from its content network.
Facebook News Junkies
With Yahoo's Facebook integration, Irving said Yahoo will promote your friends to the "status of social editors" on Yahoo. The idea is to make it easier to let your friends guide you to more stories, shows and information. Users will have to opt-in to the service to participate.
By opting-in, users can see their Facebook friends and the recent articles they've read. Users' activities also will be featured back on their Facebook profiles as they happen. With privacy backlash in mind, Yahoo stressed that it's easy to turn the feature on and off and delete items.
Facebook users will also get what Yahoo calls a lightweight dashboard that offers a view into their activity, and show their friends and what they are reacting to in a new tool dubbed the "Facebar" at the top of Yahoo News.
"Facebook is a great platform for marketers and publishers. The sheer scale of the platform creates huge opportunities. This will probably provide incremental traffic to Yahoo News, already the largest news site online," said Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence.
Sterling offered that insight with a caveat: Not everyone wants friends to know what they're reading. Of course, that's an issue that applies to all social apps on Facebook. There's no guarantee that anyone will use it. But if users do opt-in, Yahoo could strike behavioral-analytics gold.
"Yahoo will also get more social data about popular stories and user behavior patterns which it will no doubt factor back into its editorial decision-making and product design at Yahoo News proper," Sterling said.
As part of the new social-content experience, people will also be able to feature their TV watching activity on IntoNow from Yahoo on their Facebook profile. This content will appear on people's profiles under "Most Watched" and "Most Recently Watched." People will also be able to discover new content based on their friends' activity.
"People have been sharing links to news articles with friends on Facebook for years, and today Yahoo is deepening its Facebook integration to make social news even more seamless," said Ethan Beard, director of platform partnerships at Facebook. "Using our new features, Yahoo is personalizing the news experience for readers, and giving them new ways to express their favorite Yahoo content on their Facebook profile, and discover more relevant news through friends."