Release Notes: Yahoo! Updates and Social APIs

Some of you may have heard about the Yahoo! – Twitter agreement that was announced a couple of weeks ago. The deal complements the Facebook agreement that we announced in December last year. Both these agreements are key enablers the Yahoo! Open Strategy, which is all about opening up Yahoo like never before to help our users connect with the best of the web. In particular, these partnerships with Facebook and Twitter will help us do several things:

  1. Aggregation of social activity from across the web into Yahoo! Updates to enrich products like Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Homepage, Yahoo! Messenger other content experiences across Yahoo!
  2. Distribution of Yahoo!’s social activity and content (we call this, collectively, Yahoo! Updates) from Yahoo! out to Twitter, Facebook, and the web at large (think of Yahoo! as a massive client for updating your status out to your network(s) of choice).

We’ve been working towards enabling our social APIs to support these objectives and today we have accomplished a major milestone by launching a release that upgrades most of our social platforms. We’d like to share with you some specific features we’ve released this week. Many of these won't directly affect you, as developers, but we're excited that our social platform now supports these key capabilities:

  1. In order to enable social aggregation, we’ve built a platform that allows us to centrally store credentials issued to Yahoo! by third parties such as Facebook & Twitter. This central platform provides a secure and scalable way for us to aggregate social across all of Yahoo!. Users will soon be able to link their Yahoo! account to Facebook & Twitter thereby making their Yahoo! ID a gateway to their accounts on these third party networks.
  2. We’ve upgraded our Updates API such that updates that are inserted into Yahoo! using our default update types will be broadcast to all third party networks that the user has linked their Yahoo! account to. This provides a single entry point to distribute updates to all third parties. As soon as we enable users to link their accounts to third parties across Yahoo! in near future, you will be able to get more distribution by using the Updates API without the need to integrate with multiple third parties. Users will also be able to syndicate their Yahoo! activities, like buzz, ratings, reviews etc to these third party networks.
  3. Similarly, you will soon be able to use the Status API to syndicate status updates to all networks, including Yahoo!, in one API call. You don’t have to worry about publishing to multiple third party APIs.
  4. You can easily allow your users to login to your site with their Yahoo! ID and request access to submit Updates and Status to Yahoo! (and again then out to Facebook and Twitter), all in one flow via our Hybrid Auth interface.
  5. We’ve added the ability for Yahoo! users to import their Facebook friends into their Yahoo! Contacts. The imported friends are available through our Contacts API which significantly increases the number of social relationships and the amount of data you get from the API.
  6. We’ve added the ability to add comments & likes on Yahoo! Updates in Profiles and we will soon be enabling this feature on other destinations such as Yahoo! Mail & Homepage. We expect to see a significant improvement in the consumption experience of Yahoo! Updates as we continue to iterate with features such as this which will drive more clicks per update inserted into the Updates API.

We're committed to continuously enhancing our social APIs to provide you with the necessary tools to build innovative and engaging applications. To get started, visit the Social API documentation. Suggestions? We're all ears! Leave them in the comments below.