Yahoo Updates to Become More Public

Yahoo comes clean about upcoming privacy changes

Yahoo has been working on Yahoo Updates for quite a while now and the product has been slowly evolving and being integrated into more of the company’s products. The feature enables you to see your friends’ status updates from a variety of social networks, sites, apps, and so on. Yahoo is now getting ready for the next step, which would make Updates more public, but, having learned a thing or two from both Google and Facebook, it is trying to be upfront about the changes and to explain them before they roll out.

“[W]e’ve been adding Yahoo! Updates into more of our products like Yahoo! Mail, Messenger and Profiles. This phased integration has been happening over the past year so we could understand what users like and don’t like and then integrate feedback,” Anne Toth, VP of Global Policy and head of Privacy, and Cody Simms, senior director for Yahoo Social Platforms and Yahoo Developer Network, explained.

“In the coming weeks, we’ll be expanding Yahoo! Updates in Yahoo! Mail to enable you to see public updates from some of your Messenger friends and Yahoo! Contacts in addition to your Connections. Before long, we’ll also allow you to start sharing your Updates with friends on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks if you want,” they added.

Currently, users can only see the updates from their friends or contacts. For Yahoo Messenger, they see the status updates from all sources for all of their Messenger friends. In Yahoo Mail, users get to see the updates their Connections have posted on Yahoo and, recently, on Facebook as well.

The Yahoo Updates integration in Yahoo Mail is getting an upgrade, as more data will start showing up in the stream. Updates from your Messenger friends and Contacts from all sources will then be added.

By default, users will be able to see anyone’s updates, as these are considered public. This is why Yahoo is giving its users a heads-up. When the changes roll out, users will be able to customize what information is public and what isn’t based on its source, Flickr,, Twitter, etc. At the same time, users will be able to turn off the Updates stream entirely. Yahoo says all of these settings will be easily reachable to ensure that everyone knows what is sharing and with whom.

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