Yahoo to combine universal IM with social networks

Is the best way to connect people really to have them "superpoking" one other all day? Matt Asay says he'd rather be able to actually chat with well-selected friends.

Valleywag largely pans it, while Webware thinks it has promise.

Regardless, the central premise of Yahoo's upcoming universal-messaging application dubbed MyM is clear. According to Webware, MyM:

...appears to be joining several Web services together. Included are instant messaging clients like AIM and MSN, along with social services like MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, and Friendster.

I like it. For one thing, I get tired of scattering my IM activities--and my company largely works over IM--among different chat programs. That's why I use Adium. But given the promise of also connecting social-networking services with IM, I become much more interested in what Yahoo is up to.

After all, isn't the point of social-networking sites like to connect people? If so, is the best way to connect people really to have them "superpoking" each other all day? I'd rather be able to actually chat with them.

Just as important, Yahoo's approach would make me much more careful about who I invite into my network as a "friend." If I actually had to treat my "friends" as, well, friends--you know, people I like to talk with on a regular basis--I'd be much more circumspect about how I selected them.

All of this, of course, would make the service much more valuable because it could then record my true "social graph."

Now consider if Yahoo were to integrate the service with its e-mail offering (especially Zimbra ). Suddenly things get much, much more interesting. Yahoo has stumbled on many things, but its focus on messaging and collaboration should pay off big time, even if its search efforts lag in the meantime.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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