Since Jerry Yang took the helm at Yahoo again, the Internet company's been trying to get back on track. And that means not just getting its ad strategy sorted out, but also starting to compete more with some of the more innovative Internet 2.0 companies, which of course means Facebook and social networking.
Yahoo just launched a beta test of a new site called Mash. Hardly Yahoo's first attempt to get into the social networking business-- it's $1 billion bid for Facebook was rebuffed, and its network 'Yahoo 360' hasn't gained a significant audience. The idea is for the new site to take advantage of some of Yahoo's other sites and applications, like del.icio.us, a Web site that shares internet links, and Upcoming.org, a service that plans events, like a next generation Evite.
You can add applications--like Flickr or PimpMyPet--to your page and move them by dragging them around. And users can load these applications, or "modules" onto friends pages. It has an application like Twitter, called "Pulse" which sends messages reporting on what you're up to to your friends. And then the name "Mash" comes in--users can mash their information together with their friends'.
Yahoo is also trying to ramp up its e-mail services, announcing its buying Zimbra for $250 million in cash and stock. Zimbra provides web-based email to businesses, which should give Yahoo's email service an advantage in competing with Google , which is posting increasingly tough competition. Google's unveiling software that can create power point-esque slide presentations from its web platform. Businesses are interested in lower-cost alternatives to Microsoft software, and Google wants to make sure that its offerings can keep up with the Google Documents platform.
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