Sunnyvale, California -- Internet pioneer Yahoo Inc., on Tuesday announced that it is integrating its Yahoo! Application Platform (YAP) with the recently renewed Yahoo! Homepage, which allows advertisers and publishers develop apps for the homepage is part of the company's ambitious Yahoo Open Strategy (YOS).
The Yahoo Developer Network blog released a post calling for “innovative and flawless” applications to be submitted for inclusion in a gallery section on their redesigned homepage. “In support of the Yahoo! Open Strategy, this integration offers a more customizable and personally relevant experience for over 118 million monthly homepage users across the U.S.,” a Yahoo! spokesperson said in a statement. Yahoo said it gets over 330 million unique visitors per month worldwide.
Launched in April 2008, YOS is a project that allows access to all of the company's online services, sites and applications to third-party developers. The company has in the past worked with select partner developers to create home page applications, such as AOL, Google, eBay, MySpace and Facebook, who have already used YAP to develop custom pages and are now included in its homepage app gallery.
Apps are to be based on using Yahoo!'s proprietary development platform, YAP. The YDN post further noted, “We are working on an array of additional developer monetization opportunities -- these will be available soon.” The gallery's inaugural class includes YAP-built applications from Mint, Lumosity, Flixter, Target, and WordPress.
“By developing apps, you can drive traffic to your site, acquire new users, and increase awareness of your brand,” wrote Xavier Legros, YAP product director, in an official Yahoo blog.
“Migrating the homepage to YAP means that any developer can create apps once to be deployed across the Yahoo! network -- for the new homepage as well as My Yahoo! for example,” he added. “This means faster delivery of new product rollouts; and the ability for global regions to customize apps for their markets.”
Before, Yahoo! had over 75 apps available to U.S. users at Yahoo.com from partners like AOL Mail, Gmail, eBay, MySpace, and Facebook, plus publisher partner apps from publications like NPR and Glamour.
The YAP premise is fairly straightforward. Styled “a wide open, self service environment,” the platform allows developers to build apps and submit them to Yahoo! with no business development deals or contracts. Developers use their own environments, stacks, and servers and code in any language they like. For the developers, the benefit is instant distribution. For Yahoo!, the benefit is a ton of free R&D and IP.
For users, the benefit is a slew of widgets to make the Yahoo! portal more intensely personal, whether that experience is one of entertainment, education, practicality, socialization, or information. The apps pop into a lightbox-style layout, called “Small View,” on scrollover and go to a full-page “Canvas View” when a user clicks through.
Developers will be able to promote their Yahoo home page applications on their own sites by featuring an “Add to Yahoo” button that Yahoo is providing.
“Any app that meets our terms of service criteria, regardless of whether it is actively promoted in the Yahoo! homepage app gallery, can be added from a remote entry point,” the spokesperson says. “People can continue to use our App Maker and create their own app on the fly by adding virtually any URL of their choice.”
Yahoo! also announced 13 new featured apps in the homepage app gallery. These include Mint.com, Target, and Flixter to name a few. Developers at Open hack Day in New York City next week will be offered the first opportunity to build applications on YAP for availability on the new Yahoo! Homepage.
This was in addition to Yahoo! apps. Now that the homepage is integrated with YAP, all publishers, advertisers, and developers have access to build apps for Yahoo!.
Yahoo! has sensibly made a great and ever-increasing efforts to open themselves to the developer community in what many see as a struggle to remain interesting and viable in the age of the open API. Tools such as YQL, their proprietary query language which we covered in depth, and their YAP application development platform help to foster a sense of relevancy for the aging web giant.