Yahoo!’s Chief technology Officer, Ari Balogh and Chief Architect of Platforms, Neal Sample, have announced at the Web 2.0 Expo held in San Francisco on 25th April, that Yahoo! will shortly launch a program called Yahoo! Open Strategy (Y!OS) and will open up SearchMonkey in private beta.
According to Balogh, they are “rewiring Yahoo! from the inside out, to create a development platform at Yahoo! that will literally open up all of the assets of Yahoo! to developers across the Web in a way that [they] have never done before.”
The open strategy aims to make the consumer experience throughout Yahoo! a social one. As a first step towards doing so, they have invited a select group of developers to start using SearchMonkey – the Yahoo! Open Search project that was officially launched in February.
TechCrunch has provided a detailed write up about creating applications and enhanced search results with SearchMonkey.
Y!Open, the first stage of this strategy is due to launch sometime later this year. The overall strategy, though, is not limited to just search. It aims to open up all parts of Yahoo! such as Yahoo! Mail, Frontpage, MyYahoo!, Mobile and others.
All these services will be available through a single unified profile, and Yahoo! Mail will be its centerpiece. This way all existing customers from its various sites will automatically be integrated into the new social area, instead of having to sign up for multiple sites.
A central application platform will be the base on which developers can host or hook in applications. Current APIs will be developed further, along with OpenSocial, so developers can build more applications and distribute them across the Yahoo! spectrum.
Yahoo! Application Platform (Y!AP) is also due to be launched soon and is expected to give direct competition to the Google App Engine. Y!AP will allow developers to host a certain number of applications for free. Developers will be able to move data from within the network to other networks. E.g. The Yahoo! contact list could be integrated with Plaxo.
Eventually all of Yahoo!’s properties will be amalgamated into one macro social site and this will optimize usage of its underutilized social graph. This will be a rewiring of Yahoo!’s properties in a big way. The idea is to make it easier for users to share information with other users on other sites and thus keep up with social networks like Facebook and MySpace.
No definite time frame has been set for all these initiatives, so only time will tell how much of this will actually occur and whether it will really be serious competition to Google. Talks of these open initiatives have been heard off and on since last September. Critics think the new announcement are just futile attempts from Yahoo! to try and maintain their foothold in the market. One also wonders if all this will make any difference to Microsoft’s takeover plans.