Facebook's privacy issues don't seem to be scaring off Yahoo. The search engine announced plans Monday to more tightly integrate its network with Facebook as part of a broader move to get more social.
Yahoo's strategy might be "if you can't beat them, integrate them." Rather than trying once again to build a social-media powerhouse of its own, Yahoo is inking deals that bring what it deems the best social experiences from across the web to its users.
As Cody Simms, Yahoo's senior director of social platforms and the developer network, sees it, Yahoo is in a strategic position to offer people a collection of "mainstream methods of content discovery -- social, search, communications and editorial" in one place so people can share information and connect. Simms also said the moves will help Yahoo "extend our reach and increase engagement."
Facebook Meets Flickr
Facebook and Yahoo are hardly strangers. But Yahoo sees the latest deal as an important milestone in the partnership. Starting this week, people who use both Yahoo and Facebook can link their accounts. Linking makes it possible to view and share updates with friends across both networks.
Here's an example of how it works: If you connect your accounts, you can read your Facebook news feed on the Yahoo home page, in Yahoo Mail, and other Yahoo sites and services. On the other hand, if you create and share content on Yahoo sites -- including Yahoo News, Yahoo Sports, Flickr and so on -- you can easily share your actions with friends back on Facebook. Yahoo also hinted at "additional integrations."
"Yahoo has tried and largely failed to build social networks or pseudo social networks in the past. It's now taking an 'aggregation' approach and integrating or building on top of third-party sites -- specifically Facebook and Twitter," said Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence. "This more recent strategy is, at this point, much smarter. We'll see how people respond, but it does make Yahoo more 'relevant' to the social web."
Yahoo's Privacy Moves
Yahoo isn't putting all its eggs in the Facebook basket, though. Yahoo recently inked a deal with Zynga to offer social games like Farmville and Mafia Wars. The company also recently acquired Koprol -- which extends its social mobile and local offerings and focuses on the intersection of location, community expertise, and mobile experiences -- and Citizen Sports, a mobile sports-information app.
In its announcement, Yahoo also addressed privacy issues on Yahoo Profile, which lets people manage their identity and activities across Yahoo from a central location. The new name for the service is Yahoo Pulse.
More than a mere name change, Yahoo says it has refreshed the experience to make its privacy settings easier to use and to give people a central dashboard to manage what they share on Yahoo from the external social accounts and apps that they have linked to Yahoo, starting with Facebook, with others to come later this year.