By chance, I happened to bump into Irv Henderson, Yahoo! Vice President of Global Mobile Products after his participation in the BlackBerry® Developer Conference Keynote. It was a great informal chat and we made promises to get some firm content on the BlackBerry Developer’s Blog. While I strongly recommend you watch Mr. Henderson’s portion of the keynote, I believe our conversation below about Yahoo!’s presence on BlackBerry smartphones is just as worthy. Read on!
We were discussing Yahoo!’s My Favorites tab on the mobile homepage and I was wondering if you could expand on what you were saying about adding any web feed…
At a high level, users want access to the same content and services on PC and Mobile – regardless of where they are and what screen they’re using. Our new mobile homepage is completely personalized and based around three core principles – enabling people to:
- Discover via results from Yahoo!’s award-winning mobile Search, editor-selected content and news
- Stay connected through access to email and social networking accounts from the most popular Web providers, as well as instant messaging, address book, and calendar functions.
- Stay informed by bringing their favorite Web content –sports, news, local information, RSS feeds, weather, stocks, horoscopes, and more — to a single location.
The ‘My Favorites’ tab on the mobile homepage allows users to ‘add anything’ to their mobile experience and customize it based on their interests and communities. Further, any changes you make to Yahoo! on the PC (i.e. adding a stock to Yahoo! Finance, adding a RSS feed to My Yahoo!, adding an app to the new Yahoo! PC front page, etc.) will be reflected next time you’re on Yahoo!’s mobile homepage, we’ll prompt you to see if you want to add the same thing to your mobile experience.
As we create seamless mobile extensions and tighter connections between PC and mobile, we’re bringing their personalized experiences directly to the mobile environment.
You had mentioned that Yahoo! Messenger was one of your favorite applications. How will the new BlackBerry APIs and services offered help to push that app forward now that IM apps have become so popular on BlackBerry® smartphones?
First of all, let me say we’re thrilled with the new BlackBerry APIs. Leveraging the BlackBerry® Widget Software Development Kit (SDK) we’re collaborating to make the Yahoo! mobile homepage even more compelling by enabling push notifications, geo-location from the BlackBerry® Browser and a seamless transition in navigating from the browser into native applications. Exposing the BlackBerry® Push APIs as a part of the core platform capability has the potential to transform real time communication in so far as it now allows us to take the IM experience well beyond a dedicated Yahoo! Messenger. It opens up opportunities for developers to use our APIs and integrate them into applications. It also allows for collaboration with other IM communities.
What is the potential for customization so that users can build their own personalized Yahoo! Experience on their BlackBerry smartphone?
The potential is limitless – Yahoo!’s mobile homepage (http://m.yahoo.com) simplifies the mobile experience and allows consumers to bring together their favorite content and services from anywhere across the Internet in one location. As we work together to integrate the new BlackBerry APIs, we’ll be able to provide BlackBerry users with the best possible Yahoo! experience on their smartphones.
Is the intent to build a great top level Yahoo! experience and then have people find great applications like Fantasy Sports? Or is it the opposite where people drill up from the apps? Or both? How do you balance targeted user experiences with all the great information/services coming out of Yahoo!?
We think the answer is both. For instance, you can come from the Yahoo! Mobile experience into the Fantasy Football application, or you can approach it as a Fantasy user who wants to see what Yahoo! has to offer. Both ways are great examples of how sharing content and services can lead to an enriched overall user experience. We are focused on building products that deliver compelling and personally relevant mobile experiences for our users. We find balance by letting them choose which information and services they want on their mobile phone and by making them aware that there is a seamless mobile experience for the Yahoo! services they use on the PC. Mobile is a continuation and complement to the overall Internet experience, not something separate.
Speak about Yahoo! Pipes and its possibilities on mobile.
We think Pipes offers an interesting composition and presentment tool for mashing up content. We are in the early days in working out a product implementation on mobile. More broadly, Yahoo! provides many opportunities for developers to create their own services both on the PC and mobile. We integrate things like SearchMonkey into our PC and mobile search results, allowing developers to use structured data to make Yahoo! Search results more useful and visually appealing, and drive more relevant traffic to their sites. Specific to mobile, Yahoo! Blueprint is a technology for creating mobile web sites for many different types of mobile phones. Developers can use the technology that powers Yahoo! mobile products to reach mobile users on thousands of devices.
What is the most important new BlackBerry service or platform enhancement now offered by RIM for Yahoo!? Geo targeting, the advertising services? Is it a combination?
It’s clearly a combination. We think the BlackBerry team has thought carefully about the prioritization of the APIs. If we had to choose though, it would be the cell site geo-location capabilities as this opens the door for us to deliver even more compelling and relevant experiences.