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Did Yahoo! Video Flickr to Life?

Yahoo is re-launching Yahoo! Video, in a bid to compete with Google Video and the increasingly popular video sharing site YouTube.com.

Jason Zajac, Yahoo's general manager of social media, search and marketplace, told internetnews.com that the site's re-designed service is differentiating itself from its competitors with "community functionality."

The site's approach is similar to social search and tagging sites del.icio.us and Flickr, which happen to be Yahoo Video's corporate siblings.

"We added the formatting of groups of related videos from a single source or on a single topic into channels," Zajac told internetnews.com.

If you find a great video and it's part of a channel that also has videos you're interested in, you can subscribe to its RSS feed, which then allows you to get constant updates of all the videos in that channel."

For those of you using Flickr or del.icio.us, the idea of subscribing to specific tags or search results (they're called "channels" on Yahoo! Video) may sound familiar.

That's for a good reason, Zajac said.

"Flickr is actually part of the same group and del.icio.us is just down the hall," Zajac said. "Both are great examples of properties that Yahoo has acquired and learned from in terms of the whole management of social and community behavior online."

Yahoo acquired del.icio.us last December and Flickr in March, 2005.

Tagging is the engine that powers both sites. Del.icio.us users can publicly or privately tag sites with keywords; Flickr users tag photos. With both services, users can search the tags or subscribe to them through RSS feeds.

But there are some nuanced differences between the social functions of those sites and the re-launched Yahoo! Video, Zajac said.

So far, Yahoo! Video users can't simply subscribe to a tag in the same way they can on del.icio.us or Flickr. You have to subscribe to a tagged channel, for now.

But, Zajac said, "there's a whole lot we've thought about and plan to implement. These are all part of the social search and the social media group here, and the learning is all shared."