Yahoo begins the rollout of its new user profile today, which marks the first tangible product release for the social part of the Yahoo Open Strategy, or YOS. The profile is one of the anchors (mail is the other) to Yahoo’s strategy of turning the site into one big social network.
It’s been a long haul for the company, which first talked about the new strategy almost a year ago. More details, and a few conceptual screenshots, were announced at CES in January. A newcomer to Yahoo, VP Communities Jim Stoneham (he joined six weeks ago), is leading the team that’s creating new social features.
So here’s exactly what Yahoo is launching today: a new look for the user profile, and the ability to create “connections,” which are mutual friendships. That’s it for the front end. Yahoo has also created what they’re calling a “vitality system to share updates” on the back end, which is an engine to run activity stream-like content for future releases. See below for an example of the new profile. The rollout begins now, but some users won’t see it for a few hours. However, if you get someone who has it to add you as a connection, you’ll be in right away.
Over the next few months, they say, Yahoo properties will begin to integrate with the new profile. So if you answer a question at Yahoo Answers, for example, the activity will show up in your feed update. Eventually the front page of Yahoo Mail will show what your friends are up to as well. And one thing I really like – emails from your connections will be highlighted, so you can read them first.
If you have a Yahoo account, you can see your profile at profiles.yahoo.com/[username] (mine is here, but it hasn’t changed over to the new one yet).
The other half of Yahoo’s YOS strategy centers on an open strategy, particularly around search – see our update from April where some of those features were discussed and released.