Sunnyvale, California -- In an attempt to lure back Web surfers who are spending more time on social networking sites, Internet portal Yahoo Inc. has inked a deal with Twitter to integrate Twitter's real-time content updates across both properties, as the company seeks to enhance the appeal of its online properties with popular social networking features.
Under the partnership, Yahoo users will be able to view the short, 140-character messages created by Twitter users, directly onto several Yahoo properties, including the company's home page, Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Sports. Yahoo users will also be able to directly update their Twitter status from Yahoo and easily share content that they see there with their Twitter followers.
The move, which Yahoo made public late on Tuesday, has made a similar deal with Facebook, the world's No.1 social networking site a couple of months, expanding the partnership to make it easier for users to share Facebook status updates and other information on Yahoo or share Yahoo sports scores or Flickr photos on Facebook.
A Yahoo user viewing an item about health care legislation on Yahoo News, for instance, may see Twitter updates on the topic on the same page. Yahoo will be able to “dispense” those updates -- for example, showing only Twitter messages from legislators. As part of that integration, Yahoo will bring more Twitter updates into its search results, as Google and Bing have already done.
“We are allowing our users bring what they love about their social networks to Yahoo,” said Cody Simms, senior director of product management at Yahoo.
Simms added that the integration of Twitter and Yahoo search would begin immediately, while other features of the partnership will be available to users later this year.
Twitter dispatches millions of messages posted every minute. “The information in one single tweet can travel light years farther with this Yahoo integration,” Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said in a statement. “Tweets in more places brings relevance where and when you need it most.”
The move indicates Yahoo's keen ambition to tap into the increasingly social nature of the Web, a trend propelled by Facebook and Twitter, which have become major forces in driving and directing traffic. Yahoo missed its golden opportunity to cash in on the rise of social networking when Facebook rebuffed its $1-billion-plus takeover offer. Its current strategy has its critics.
Yahoo executives refused to comment on the finances of the Twitter deal. But Jim Stoneham, vice president for communities at Yahoo, said in December that no money would change hands in Yahoo's five-year partnership with Facebook.
Yahoo plans to bring Facebook and Twitter into its sites stands in sharp contrast to Google's approach to social networking. Earlier this month, Google Inc. unveiled a new service dubbed Google Buzz that replicated many of the social networking features that have made services like Twitter and Facebook Internet success stories, and tightly coupled with Gmail.
The release of Google Buzz sparked off angry protests from some users and privacy activists, prompting Google to apologize and make changes to the service.
“We are continuing to focus on making Yahoo truly a compelling place where you can stay in touch with people and information in one place,” Stoneham said. “We hear consistently from a good chunk of our user base that the Web is too cluttered and confusing.”
In January, Facebook surpassed Yahoo to become the second most visited website in the United States, according to a recent report by web analytics firm Compete. A separate study by comScore showed Yahoo maintaining its No.2 rank with roughly 164 million unique U.S. visitors, while Facebook was the No.4 site with 112 visitors, behind third-ranked Microsoft Corp.