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Yahoo hopes developers don't pass 'Go'

CEO Jerry Yang shows off Yahoo Go 3.0, potential features in Yahoo Mail, and other mobile efforts at CES.

Updated at 12:10 p.m. to include potential Yahoo Mail features.

LAS VEGAS--Yahoo is hoping to prove it can be as mobile and open as its rivals.

As expected, Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang used his speech at CES to announce several mobile efforts including a redesigned mobile home page and a beta of Yahoo Go 3.0, which is open to widgets created by outsiders.

However, for those in the crowd hoping to see the new face of Yahoo, he apologized.

Jerry Yang
CEO Jerry Yang, the enduring face of Yahoo. Yahoo

"It's still the same old face," he said pointing to his head.

But, he said, he has learned a few things since he started the company.

"I think it is time to get Yahoo yodeling again," he said.

The goal, he said, is the same as in the early days--to make Yahoo the starting point on the Internet. But he said the world is far more open, social and mobile.

"We're already the home page for hundreds of millions of people."

Yang and Marco Boerries, executive vice president for Yahoo's Connected Life unit, showed off the new Yahoo Go complete with a lot of eye candy, including an animated user interface and mobile Flickr and maps applications.

Yahoo is hoping its reach will woo developers to write widgets using its XML development environment, dubbed Blueprint.

Click here to Play

Yahoo demossocial apps
Service will integrate
e-mail, social-context

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Yahoo revampsmobile
Execs demo upgrades
to Go for mobile devices.

In its early beta form Yahoo Go 3 will run on 30 devices, but the company will move to reach the more than 300 devices that can run Yahoo Go 2.0.

Beyond that, widgets developed for Yahoo's platform can also run on phones that can't run the full Yahoo Go. Any phone with a browser that can display plain HTML or XHTML can run the widgets.

"We are increasing their reach ten-fold," Boerries said.

Yahoo is working with some phone makers, including Motorola, to also allow cell phones to run widgets natively from the phone.

Yang also demonstrated a future desktop version of Yahoo Mail that would sort through an inbox, prioritizing status updates and messages from people who are part of a user's social network. The sort function highlighted messages from Yang's most important contacts.

His mother was prioritized first, but he noted he had some explaining to do at home since his wife showed up below Yahoo co-founder David Filo.

He also showed an inbox that could get voicemail and text messages, as well as tabs for third parties, potentially folks like MySpace and Evite.

Yang stressed that the features he showed off were not part of a current or pending release.

"This is not a launch." he said. "This is more of a concept demonstration."