Yahoo Previews New Smarter Inbox

December 16th, 2008 at 12:00 am

yahoo mail

Yahoo’s social network 360 was a total flop.  As of now, Yahoo isn’t active in maintaining any mainstream social network like Google’s Orkut.  And as we all know, Yahoo is in some financial trouble due to the economic downturn.  However, Yahoo’s strategy to recover and regain their footing is actually sensible and outright smart.

Yahoo is now focusing on their largest asset and bringing to it changes and improvements that will make it more competitive. Yahomail is still the world’s largest email platform with hundreds of millions of users.  To exploit that asset, Yahoo is working on opening it up a bit so it can integrate Yahoo applications and third party applications.  Moreover, they are making Yahoomail into sort of social network.

Like Google’s Gmail, Yahoo is now making ways of keeping users glued to the service.  The largest problem with email is that it’s mainly used to just send and receive messages and not actually do other web stuff in it.  To address this, Google has integrated most of their products in to Gmail, making it easier for their users to consume their applications.  Yahoo on the other hand is using its vast audience to make Yahoomail into one huge social network.

This makes perfect sense.  In real life, anyone’s social network is their phonebook and address book.  this means that the people anybody socializes with the most must be in their email address books.  Unlike in social networks where users create profiles and invite their friends, email contacts are more relevant.  So if Yahoo can persuade its users to socialize online with their email contacts, then they’ve got the world’s largest social network.

Like I said, this is Yahoo’s strategy to regain its former glory and save itself from the financial crisis.  Currently they are working on a Smarter Inbox for Yahoomail.  This new inbox will feature many social tools that will encourage users to connect with their contacts and interact with them just like in a social network.   In 2009, they say that they will also be opening the Yahoomail platform to third party applications.  So far, in their beta testing they have integrated Flickr, Xoopit and some other Yahoo apps.