Yahoo (YHOO) has a crush on Twitter, but it’s being very coy about it.
We’ve seen reports that Apple, Microsoft, Google, and News Corp have each sent executives to sniff around Twitter and consider it for acquistiion.
But we’ve never heard or seen a report that Yahoo has done the same.
Likewise, when a cache of Twitter’s internal strategy documents leaked earlier this summer, we discovered notes from meetings in which Twitter execs discussed possible deals with Microsoft, Google and Facebook. Meanwhile,Yahoo was only mentioned once.
Is Yahoo ignoring the most-talked-about startup to hit the Internet since Facebook?
No, not at all.
In fact, Yahoo engineers and execs are obsessed with the service. In a post titled “Yahoo’s Social Plan: Twitter, Twitter, & More Twitter?” Search Engine Land’s Matt McGee lists seven ways Yahoo’s incorporated Twitter or Twitter-like features into various products so far in 2009.
- Yahoo Meme, a microblogging service available in Spanish and Portugese only.
- A Twitter-like status updating tool on the Yahoo homepage.
- Status updating in Yahoo Mail.
- Know Your Mojo is a Yahoo product that tells you want kind of Twitter user you are.
- Important People is a tool to determine “the most influential people tweeting about a specific topic.”
- Sideline is a desktop app for monitoring hot trends and keyword searches in the Twitter stream.
- Tweet News, a Twitter-based news search engine from top Yahoo engineer Vik Singh
Our quick thoughts:
Since Yahoo is out of the search game and is only seeking user engagement, it’s probably on the right track integrating and copying Twitter as much as it can instead of buying the startup.
But in every place Yahoo bothers to clone a Twitter feature (status updates in Yahoo Mail?) it should stop and just integrate Twitter instead. Yahoo should work to be a better place to use Twitter than Twitter.com.
Correction: An earlier version of this post said Yahoo wasn’t mentioned at all in Twitter’s leaked documents. At one point, Twitter execs discussed allowing Yahoo deeper access into its API.
Writes McGee: 'In January, Yahoo programmer Vik Singh created TweetNews, a search engine that uses Twitter to re-rank Yahoo's latest news search results. Singh is the architect of Yahoo BOSS and was just named one of MIT's Young Innovators Under 35. It means something when he starts messing with Twitter.'
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