Introducing the Yahoo! Open Strategy

We’re blowin’ the doors wide open!

Today we’re introducing the Yahoo! Open Strategy (or Y!OS for short), the details behind Yahoo!’s big bet to "deliver open, industry-leading platforms that attract the most publishers and developers."

Y!OS platforms will harness Yahoo!'s unique strengths – our rich and relevant user experiences (we’re #1 in 7 verticals), our massive audience (half a billion users/month), and our deep data repositories (content, content, content) – and open them to the innovations of the developer community. Our aim: to fundamentally transform how people experience Yahoo!.

With Y!OS, we’re moving from a model in which each Yahoo! property develops much of its own technology to one where we share common data and frameworks that can be easily surfaced across multiple Yahoo! properties and off the network.

It’s a major rewiring of Yahoo!.

And the good news for developers is that Y!OS will allow you to access to these assets, build applications around them, and then get distribution on Yahoo!’s monumentally popular properties (and/or use them in your own websites).

Specifically, Y!OS includes:

A Single Social Platform for Yahoo!

The Social Platform will enable a single social "connective tissue" across all Yahoo! experiences letting users view Yahoo! through a relevant social lens. The Social Platform isn’t yet another social networking vertical from Yahoo!. It's a common social infrastructure that will span all of Yahoo! and the web beyond. We’ll start by collapsing the Y! 360 and Mash connection lists into one social repository (and add a new user interface to it), then we'll take a proactive approach to tapping into the TEN BILLION aggregate relationships in Mail, Messenger, Address Book, and other social areas of Yahoo! to recommend connections to our users. Plus, we’ll begin surfacing users’ profile and connection information throughout Yahoo! as the whole Yahoo! network becomes more social, which will motivate users to activate connections. Developers will gain access to this Social Platform via RESTful APIs, giving you ways to query for a user's profile data and connections data (our Social API), ways to update a user’s presence across the network (Presence API), and an activity stream with an API for reading/writing a user’s activity (we call this “Updates”).

Lotsa Standardized Web Services

You want data? Have we got data for you! And we’ll be delivering a lot more of it in the coming months. We’re working to get it to you in ways that won’t require "RTFM" every time we release new APIs. We’ve created a RESTful API standard to which most new Yahoo! API releases will adhere, including all of the Social Platform APIs mentioned above. And some more news: we’ll be supporting OAuth – look for the OAuth Consumer Key to replace the YDN App ID for new API signups here on the developer website very soon.

The Yahoo! Application Platform (YAP)

So now you have an out-of-the-box social graph, and wicked cool data to mashup. How about some traffic? How about some traffic from Yahoo! Mail, the Yahoo! Front Page, Yahoo! Search, My Yahoo! and the revamped Y! Profile? The Yahoo! Application Platform will allow developers to build applications that plug directly into these Yahoo! pages and properties, starting today with an exciting developer's preview release into Yahoo! Search called Search Monkey.

As Yahoo! is a member of the OpenSocial Foundation, YAP supports OpenSocial. Apps you’ve written for other OpenSocial-compliant application platforms should function on Yahoo! with minimal tweaking (and vice versa) -- or you can write apps that go directly to the Social Platform REST APIs; it’s up to you. And YAP offers you the choice of hosting your app with Yahoo! or using your own server to proxy your app back to us.

Today’s announcement is just a hint of things to come. Get started today with Search Monkey and stay tuned for a cascade of more announcements as pieces continue to come online.

We couldn’t be more excited to work with you to change Yahoo! and change the web.

Say it with me now: “Developers! Developers! Developers!” ;)

Cody Simms
Y!OS Product Management