We’re so Open, we’re even on Google!

Yahoo! Updates screenshot

With Yahoo! Updates, sites can broadcast the activities of their users to Yahoo!'s massive global audience of over 500M+ monthly unique users. Sites integrating with Yahoo! Updates receive referral traffic from everywhere the Yahoo! Updates feed is published, including Yahoo! Messenger, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Toolbar, and... even on iGoogle!

Users authorize sites to share their online activities on Yahoo! Updates using the OAuth protocol. OAuth allows users to authorize sites to access Yahoo! APIs on their behalf, without having to share their password. OAuth is an open standard supported by an increasing number of sites and makes it possible for developers to reuse code that implements API authentication without having to write custom code for every service provider.

Sites that speak OAuth are more likely to interoperate with each other, and as a proof of concept, I wrote a gadget for iGoogle that uses OAuth to show the Yahoo! Updates feed on iGoogle. iGoogle is a personalized homepage that users can customize with 3rd party applications called Gadgets. Gadget developers can access OAuth-protected APIs using simple JavaScript APIs, letting iGoogle transparently handle many OAuth details including signature generation, token storage, and token renewal.


Because both Yahoo! and Google support OAuth, any developer can integrate Yahoo! data on iGoogle with just a few lines of JavaScript. OAuth is one of the building blocks of the Open Stack, a collection of Open Standards whose goal is to enable users to easily and securely sign into websites and share their data. According to Eric Sachs, a product manager for security at Google, "Google added support for OAuth to iGoogle in the hopes of making the web more open, safe and convenient, and we encourage more organizations to support OAuth and the Open Stack."

To learn more about Yahoo! Updates for Publishers, you can visit the Updates API page and try out our demo. To learn more about OAuth, click here.The Gadget is available in Google's Gadget Gallery.

Click on this button to install: Add to Google

To find out more about writing OAuth gadgets for iGoogle, visit Google Code.

Allen Tom
Yahoo! Membership Architect