Yoono now offering an elegant solution to social networking clutter

Yoono now offering social tracking services.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
3 min read

Note: Yoono is in private beta. We've got invites set aside for Webware readers. To get yours see the link at the end of the post.

Tonight Yoono, a browser add-on for discovering and sharing Web content is launching several new features designed to help you track what your friends are up to online.

The tool now integrates with several popular social networks and microblogging services including Twitter, letting you access and interact with the communities of all of them in one place. Previously users were limited to sending links to friends via e-mail, or interacting more easily with in-network users (called "Yoosiers") than friends from outside social networks.

Users can now view related pictures, music, and videos from pages they're on. (click to enlarge) CNET Networks

The company is calling its plug-in a "remote control," but I'd argue to say that it's more a set of highly customized widgets that are interconnected and can share the same piece of content in different ways. Starting today there are just a few that cover different things like photos, videos, and music, but the company hopes to expand, adding more tools and services while letting people pick what they want to avoid an overload both in information and desktop real estate.

The pile on of services that are trying to do this is almost as fatiguing as the goal they're attempting to fix, however Yoono's newest offering is inherently stickier because of where it resides. It's not in your taskbar, it's not a separate application--it remains in your browser where you'll be hopping around from site to site.

As a recent user of Digsby, I've come to enjoy this kind of do-it-all functionality, but having one less thing running on my machine is an attractive proposition. If you're ever used Flock you'll know what I'm talking about, and in many ways Yoono now gives you some of Flock's best features without needing to hop over to a new browser.

While the new access to social and chat networks is nice, one of the newer features that lets you view photos off Flickr as an overlay of whatever page you're looking at is far cooler. You can casually search for any photos on the service using keywords, or you can click one button and have it parse whatever page you're looking at for related shots. Is this useful? Not really, but it's addictive and will have you browsing shots for hours. To see it in action, click on the screen shot on the left.

Other small additions include a scaling back of the "buzz it" feature I wrote about last year, a really slick bookmarking tool that lets you grab anything off a page and blog about it while bookmarking it in a set of personalized feeds. The team has made it considerably easier to use in the hopes that more people will take advantage of it. Users will also soon be getting access to their friends and information updates on Bebo, MySpace, Imeem, and Friendster.

I'm impressed with what Yoono is doing, but it's in a crowded market. Recent releases from Me.dium, Digsby and Adobe AIR apps like Alert Thingy are offering some compelling, and most importantly, simple solutions to trying to sort out the influx of information. However, I really do appreciate a service that's trying to add this type of functionality to an already useful do-it-all tool.

Yoono is still in private beta and currently the new functionality only works in Firefox. Internet Explorer users will be getting an updated version in about three weeks. We've got 200 invites for Webware readers. To get yours, just go here.