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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 January 2008, 00:06 GMT
Yahoo chief opens the mobile web
Jonathan Fildes
Technology reporter, BBC News, Las Vegas

Go screenshot
The software is currently available as a beta, or test version
Yahoo chief Jerry Yang has revealed the firm's future ambitions for an open and mobile web.

Central to the company's aims is allowing third party software developers to create small applications which can run in Yahoo portals.

The first Yahoo platform to allow these widgets, as they are known, will be Go 3.0, developed for mobile phones.

The search firm showed off applications that allow people to check MySpace, eBay and MTV on the go.

"Bringing a rich web experience to mobile devices is not an easy task," said Mr Yang.

"There are literally billions of mobile users, thousands of different devices and hundreds of different carriers.

"The challenge is to create a simple starting point for all of them."

Mobile browser

Yahoo Go is a suite of downloadable tools that allow people to carry out every day internet tasks on a mobile phone.

Software allows people to search the net, send emails, upload photos, download maps and receive news updates.

Jerry Yang
Mr Yang founded Yahoo with David Filo

In previous versions, users have been limited to browsing and using Yahoo content.

The latest edition will do away with that and allow third party developers to create widgets that will suck content from other areas of the net.

"We're opening up all of Yahoo Go to the world, meaning every publisher and developer small or large will be able to develop mobile," said Marco Boerries of the firm.

"Consumers will be able to find those, discover those and subscribe to those very easily."

The model is very similar to that used by other sites such as Facebook which also allows software developers to create widgets for the social networking site.

Go 3.0 will initially be available to download on to 30 devices, although it can be run on other phones through a mobile browser.

The firm said it was working with mobile phone manufacturers such as Motorola and LG to preload the suite of tools.

Smart search

Mr Yang also showed off a prototype smart inbox for Yahoo mail.

Yahoo screenshot
Similar tools could soon be coming to other Yahoo platforms

Yahoo mail is a web based email and messaging program that has more than 250 million users worldwide.

"This is not a launch - it is more of a concept demonstration," he said.

The prototype allowed users to import contacts from social networking sites such as MySpace.

The inbox would automatically prioritise messages from people that the inbox owner regularly communicated with across all of the networks.

Other tools allowed a user to drag a message on to a map tool to see quickly the location of places linked in the body of the message.

Mr Yang showed off an example of a message that contained a link to a restaurant.

Dragging the message on to the map brought up its location, reviews, photographs and also whether the restaurant was compatible with a person's stored dietary preferences.

Coming soon

Other tools imported labels, known as tags, from the popular photo-sharing site Flickr and displayed them on a map.

The size of the font indicated the number of times a particular landmark had been photographed and tagged, and therefore its popularity.

Other tools would cross reference a person's preferences with the food on offer at the restaurant and if not compatible would suggest other eateries in the area.

"It's taking advantage of the social networks, it's taking advantage of connections, it's taking advantage of large blocks of structured data, it's taking advantage of a lot of tags that have been submitted by our users to offer a fairly seamless experience," said Mr Yang.

"These are the things I think we can be doing more of."

Yahoo co-founder David Filo added: "The good news is that we're not that far away from market. In the coming months you'll be hearing a lot more about Yahoo open platforms."

The technologies were showed off at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

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