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Yahoo Adds Bookmarking App to Mobile Suite

Despite shareholder lawsuits, employee dissent and scrutiny from all corners of the tech world over Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) acquisition attempt, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) has unveiled its ambitious plans for a portable Web device.

Yahoo announced its latest mobile venture, called Yahoo onePlace, at the CeBIT computing expo in Germany today. The company has billed the product as a content-management system, essentially a bookmarking tool that enables users to pull together their favorite Web content in any format into a single interface.

"Yahoo onePlace is where users will be able to find what matters to them the most, no matter where their interests, passions and information come from," said Marco Boerries, executive vice president for Yahoo's Connected Life division, in a statement.

Like Google, Microsoft, Nokia and others, Yahoo is betting big on the mobile environment as the next wellspring of digital ad revenue. U.S. and European consumers have been much slower to embrace the handheld device as a computing environment than people have in Asia, but many analysts are looking ahead to a gold rush in the next five years.

Citing the growing body of mobile content and increasing availability of flat-rate data plans, ABI Research has predicted that mobile advertising will become a $24 billion global market by 2013, up from $1.8 billion last year.

"Mobile is no longer off-limits in the minds of advertisers but is instead seen as a very personal way to reach consumers," according to Michael Wolf, ABI research director.

Chasing after that rich, if theoretical, market, Yahoo also announced today that version 3.0 of Yahoo Go, its mobile home page, will soon be available in several countries in western Europe. eBay and MySpace plan to launch mobile widgets in Europe as well.

Within the Go platform, Yahoo's launch of onePlace builds on earlier mobile features such as the oneSearch browser and oneConnect, an application that manages a user's relations across the social Web.

The theme here is totality. Yahoo's stated goal is to become the ideal starting point on the Web, regardless of what kind of device is used to access it. Yahoo's mobile products seek to advance that effort by aggregating the content most relevant to a user and presenting it through an intuitive interface.

onePlace can pull together content that users have already organized through popular bookmarking applications such as del.icio.us, Digg and Yelp. In addition, users can create collections and categories to organize content by theme or around a specific event. A person planning a trip to Paris, for instance, could build a collection of maps, restaurant listings, hotel and airline information for the trip.

Also, the pulse feature will provide automatic updates that supply new information, such as changes to flight status or new restaurant reviews. Yahoo is also building in a mobile RSS reader so users can monitor their feeds through the handset.

According to the company, onePlace and oneConnect are scheduled to launch in the second quarter of 2008.