RealTime IT News

Yahoo as App Store?

Building on its open strategy of making it Web platform accessible to developers, Yahoo announced an expanded range of Web services available at its sites. The third-party apps and widgets include personal finance (Mint.com) and e-commerce (PayPal), Picnik for photo editing and sharing, WordPress for blogging, and the Zumo virtual drive that stores e-mail files as large as 100 MB for free.

Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) executive Tapan Bhat detailed the new offerings in a blog post entitled "How to do more, surf less." He said Web surfers in the U.S. visit an average of 85 Web sites a month. "That just sounds exhausting," he wrote.

Rather than rely on bookmarks or surf for popular Web service, Yahoo aims to keep users in the fold (i.e., Yahoo's own sites) and make other popular services ready available. So, for example, you can make online payments or access your personal photos from within Yahoo Mail.

"This is another example of the change in how developers need to think about distribution," Ben Bajarin, analyst with Creative Strategies, told InternetNews.com. "Apps are becoming more modular so you can access them anywhere. Mobile is another big step as well as other devices like connected TVs."

In March, Yahoo released a set of widgets -- Internet applications or Web services -- designed to run on a new generation of Internet-friendly televisions from Samsung and LG Electronics. The initial list of apps included Flickr, Twitter, USA Today Sports, and Yahoo Finance and Weather. Today Yahoo expanded the list to include YouTube (available now) and eBay (coming soon). Yahoo also noted Sony and Vizio will soon release TV sets that can access the Internet and the aforementioned apps.

Sticky Notes and More

In related news, Yahoo said Zimbra, its open-source e-mail and collaboration software, is also gaining new apps, or "Zimlets" as the small programs are called. A new Sticky Notes Zimlet lets you attach and tag e-mails with readily viewed reminders or notes. Zimbra's search feature lets you find documents based on the tags or notes for quick retrieval.

An Email Highligher program lets you assign colors to e-mails from specific senders to better organize your inbox.

And last, the Email-2-Doc Zimlet is designed to let you save an e-mail as a Zimbra document, for easier sharing, with one-click including attachments that are saved as links in the documents.