Yahoo will let users of its e-mail, photo-sharing and other online products link their content and activities directly into Facebook, the world’s No. 1 Internet social network.
Yahoo’s support of the Facebook Connect service, which it said it expects to begin in the first half of 2010, represents an important move in Yahoo’s efforts to tap the popularity of social networking and underscores the growing clout of Facebook, which now counts more than 350 million worldwide users.
Earlier this year, Yahoo allowed users to preview messages from their Facebook friends directly on the Yahoo homepage, as part of a broad revamping of the Yahoo front page.
Wednesday’s announcement takes the integration between Yahoo and Facebook a step further, by automatically pushing activities performed on Yahoo sites, such as photos shared on Yahoo’s Flickr, into the Facebook news feed.
Yahoo said it expects that the content that consumers share on Facebook will drive visitors back to Yahoo.
Facebook Connect, which was introduced last year, provides a universal ID that lets people automatically log on to participating sites with their Facebook credentials. It also allows people to notify their Facebook friends about their activities on third-party Web sites.
Yahoo’s move comes as the company seeks to revive its growth under the leadership of CEO Carol Bartz, who took the reins in January and announced a controversial deal to hand off the operation of its Internet search technology to Microsoft in July.