Having become somewhat of an underdog, ironic for what is still one of the biggest websites on the planet, Yahoo is maybe starting to look interesting again. For more than a year, CEO Carol Bartz has talked about content being the new focus and about dropping internal social-networking efforts in favor of third-party options. It looked like the easy way out, but a grander plan is becoming clearer with the recent acquisition of Associated Content and the, even deeper, Facebook integration, which, according to numerous reports, is coming this week, perhaps as early as later today.
There are two big announcements coming from Yahoo, one is the linking of Yahoo accounts with Facebook ones, and the other is a revamped Yahoo Profiles, which will now be called Yahoo Pulse. There are already a lot of Facebook features on Yahoo properties, users are able to get their news feed inside Yahoo Mail, for example, but the partnership will go one step further.
Users will be able to log into Facebook from Yahoo websites and view content from the social network on the Yahoo homepage, in Yahoo Mail and other properties. Similarly, all the activity on Yahoo sites can be sent back to Facebook, enabling users to share not only stories but also their comments.
Yahoo Profiles, which was initially designed as a central place for users to manage their identity across all Yahoo websites, is now getting an upgrade making it a hub of all their activities on several social networks. For now, Facebook will be the only other option, but Yahoo is saying other social networks will follow.
Yahoo Updates already aggregates activity from plenty of places, so all the company needs to do is make the product universal. But Yahoo was wise to make the roll-out and integration gradual and it has, so far, avoided any of the issues that plagued others like Google and even Facebook itself. And since Yahoo is making privacy a very important component of the new social features, it may be able to shield itself going further.