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Yahoo's free email gets more social

Yahoo has began weaving trendy social-networking features into its popular free email service See Internet e-mail service.  as it vies to be the preferred launching point for Internet surfers.

Yahoo says it is providing tools that let people use its email service to build interactive communities based on friends and interests.

"Mail is the largest dormant social graph," Yahoo Mail See Yahoo! Mail.  vice president John Kremer said while outlining enhancements to the service used by 275 million people worldwide every month.

"This is the first time we are exposing that in a significant way."

A "smarter inbox" puts messages from friends or family in a separate, tabbed file so they don't get buried under mountains of spam or work email.

The inbox for the the first time lets people install third-party applications such as movie-recommendation service Flixster and blogging tools from WordPress.

Technology from startup Xoopit (pronounced swoop-it) will fetch all pictures buried in stored emails, even retrieving images from website links found in messages.

"Email is a place where a lot of people live," said Xoopit co-founder Bijan Marashi.

"Yahoo users have years of gems in old emails. There are hundreds of millions of people not on social networks, but with years of data in their email."

Marashi pulled up his three-year-old email account email account email ncompte m (e-)mail  as an example, revealing it held 7,745 pictures.

Yahoo Mail is being infused with a "social dimension" that builds on similar features being added to the California firm's other Internet properties, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 Open Strategy director of product development Cody Simms.

Mirroring a winning move by social-networking star Facebook, Yahoo opened up its platform this year to let third-party developers It has been suggested that First-party developer, Second-party developer be merged into this article or section.  create fun, hip, or functional applications adapted to its online offerings.

Yahoo wants to enhance the social aspects of its website in order to attract new people to its online services and get existing users to spend more time on its advertising-supported pages.

Yahoo claims more than 500 million users worldwide but has been struggling to cash-in on its popularity.

Yahoo isn't trying to be a MySpace or Facebook, but wants to add "the right bits of social that make sense to our audience," said Yahoo Audience Product Division vice president Ash Patel.

"There are maybe 150 to 250 million users on those networks," Patel said of the top two social-networking services. "With the billion people on the Web, that means some 800 million don't use those services."

Yahoo is aiming to give its half a billion users tools that let them better connect as a community while using its Web pages, according to Patel.

"To be a starting point Noun 1. starting point - earliest limiting point
terminus a quo

commencement, get-go, offset, outset, showtime, starting time, beginning, start, kickoff, first - the time at which something is supposed to begin; "they got an early start"; "she knew from the
 in this day and age you have to add the best of the Web -- social elements," Patel said, referring to Yahoo's stated goal of being the preferred launch point for Web surfers.

"Yahoo started off linking people to the rest of the Web. It is part of our culture. It is part of our heritage."

Yahoo's move is the latest salvo in an escalating war to become the preferred base of operations Noun 1. base of operations - installation from which a military force initiates operations; "the attack wiped out our forward bases"

air base, air station - a base for military aircraft

army base - a large base of operations for an army
 for people's increasingly immersive and diverse online activities, according to Flixster co-founder Joe Greenstein Joseph L. Greenstein, better known as "The Mighty Atom", was a 20th century strongman.

Greenstein was born in Suvalk, Russian Empire in 1893. As a child he suffered from respiratory ailments, and at age 14, a team of doctors predicted he would die from tuberculosis.

Facebook Connect lets people link profiles to outside websites so they can flit about the Internet without straying from the social networking See social networking site.

social networking - social network

Internet search firms treasure their slots as "default" pages set to automatically open in Web browsers The following is a list of web browsers. Historical
Historically important browsers
In order of release:
  • WorldWideWeb, February 26, 1991
  • Erwise, April 1992
  • ViolaWWW, May 1992, see Erwise

"It is going to be a really interesting war to see where the user bases end up," Greenstein said. "My guess is we will see multiple winners by demographics. Yahoo has one of the clearest visions as a starting point."
Copyright 2008 AFP Global Edition
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Dec 16, 2008
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