Yesterday, Yahoo announced they’d made several updates to their online services. One of the more major changes includes a total redesign of their web-based e-mail service. Yahoo Mail will now begin offering new social networking enhancements. Not only will the Mail feature become more social, but the Yahoo toolbar will too.
The changes to the site go along with Yahoo’s strategy to be more open in an attempt to be more popular. The company has already had an early version of site open to developers, giving them the opportunity to design widgets and applications to run within mail.
On Monday Yahoo executives demonstrated to the public the new features of their web based programming and shared with the press the newest applications the company has prepared for launch.
The social networking enhancements to the Yahoo Mail function are seen when you click on a brand new “Welcome” tab, which opens up behind the inbox. You can view the changes at today at beta.mail.yahoo.com.
Much like Facebook, the new email site will offer a news feed of friend’s social activities. While all outstanding friend requests are displayed, the new service also offers suggestions about new individuals with whom to connect with.
The question still remains whether or not the 275 million monthly visitors to the yahoo site will participate.
One of the major issues is that each user is required to have a Yahoo Profile in order to access the social networking features. And, more importantly, in effort for any of the social networking aspects to be of use, each user must have profiles and friends who also utilize Yahoo in this way.
Yahoo will have to work hard in an attempt to penetrate the social networking market with individuals already feeling overwhelmed by maintaining profiles on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter simultaneously.
If Yahoo chooses to take advantage of one of the new single login services , then they might be able to leverage the membership of other social networks in an attempt to build their own as well.
If Yahoo is able to get the ball rolling on this concept then they have the potential to debut a unique and powerful social networking experience capable of competing with Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and Google. The company, however has a lot of hurdles to overcome and a lot of work to do.