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Update: Yahoo makes local search, social moves

Twitter and Zynga integrated into Web properties, new Yahoo Messenger packs social networking features

By Juan Carlos Perez
November 16, 2010 11:49 AM ET

IDG News Service - Yahoo today announced new and enhanced products and services intended to improve the company's offerings in local search and social media.

Yahoo will integrate Twitter and Zynga broadly on its Web properties, while a new beta version of Yahoo Messenger packs a number of social networking features.

In Yahoo's search engine, the company will offer applications that will allow users to perform actions with local results from within the engine's interface.

It includes an upgrade of Yahoo Sketch-a-Search for finding local restaurants.

Yahoo Messenger's new social functionalities include the ability to play games from social gaming companies like Zynga, and post, view and comment on status updates from Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo's Flickr without leaving the IM service's interface.

Yahoo Messenger now also provides interoperability with Facebook's chat function.

The Zynga links extend beyond Yahoo Messenger and include My Yahoo, Yahoo Toolbar, Yahoo Games and Yahoo Pulse, which used to be called Yahoo Profiles.

Twitter has also been integrated in Yahoo's home page, Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Pulse.

Yahoo also announced the launch of a program called Local Offers, designed to offer Yahoo users special deals, offers and coupons from local merchants. Initial partners include Groupon, LivingSocial, DealOn, Zozi, Tippr, Coupons.com, and Valpak.

The announcements were made at Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco at a press conference led by Yahoo Chief Product Officer Blake Irving, who promised that Yahoo will accelerate its pace of innovation over the course of the next year.

Tuesday's announcements seem mostly to build on technology and services that were made popular outside of Yahoo, but Irving said changes in the company's culture and technology infrastructure improvements will yield "big pops of innovation."

"You'll start seeing those things that will make people go: 'No way! From Yahoo?'"

Irving, who has been with Yahoo for about six months, said that he has focused in part on creating a welcoming atmosphere for innovation at the company. "You create a culture that's safe for innovation and lets people move fast," he said.

Yahoo Messenger's new social functionalities include the ability to play games from social gaming companies like Zynga and post, view and comment on status updates from Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo's Flickr, without leaving the IM service's interface. It also provides interoperability with Facebook's chat function.

The Zynga links extend beyond Yahoo Messenger and include My Yahoo, Yahoo Toolbar, Yahoo Games and Yahoo Pulse, which used to be called Yahoo Profiles. "One of the most engaging ways to connect with other people is through social gaming," said Kakul Srivastava, vice president of Product Management, Communications and Communities, at Yahoo.

Twitter has also been integrated in Yahoo's home page, Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Pulse.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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