So it looks like Yahoo! is getting a social platform called Yahoo! 360° (because they’ve finally got people typing the ! in Yahoo!, they figure they can get people to use ° too). I don’t think anyone could have predicted that Yahoo was going to go social.
From what little information we have, it looks like they’ve got some good stuff planned. Blogs (which GeoCities should have had 5 years ago), photo sharing and the like, which tie into Yahoo!’s existing products.
Hopefully they can leverage the social stuff to improve their search results, although it would be kind of weird to be searching for the line “I’ve got a scorching case of herpes” from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off only to get results saying “3 people in in your social circle found this site helpful for ‘herpes’.”
With the photo-sharing aspect, it looks like they’re taking a page from Ludicorp’s playbook and making “Groupware for play.” 2nd generation social sites like Flickr and del.icio.us work because they connect you with other people while they help you accomplish something.
With all of Yahoo’s properties they can offer a lot of things to accomplish, which causes the network to grow fast and the value of the network to grow even faster. Someone fully immersed in the Yahoo! kool-aid might be able to find a date, find a job and share their photos all at the same place. A prostitute might even find all that with the same person, but I haven’t seen that social networking site yet.
Of course, there is the downside that we’re all sick of social networking sites by now. Social blogging, social bookmarking and social photo-sharing sites are fine, but outside of salespeople and CCNEs who really “networks”? If Yahoo! 360° is going to succeed Yahoo will need to give people something to do, and then let them do it better by cooperating and sharing.