Yahoo To Launch A ‘YouTube For Sports’?

YouTube For Sports‘ – This is plain speculation for the moment. But something of that kind appears to be brewing at the Yahoo Labs. The company has applied for a trademark on the term “Sportstream“.

So what’s a SportStream? The application explains – “Entertainment services, namely, the provision of continuing video segments featuring sports and sports commentary”

When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. Though YouTube is the largest video sharing websites on the planet, one of the biggest monetization models that Google has unearthed is through the streaming of live sports content. Earlier this year, Google partnered with the Indian Premier League to stream live cricket content across the world.

Now, when it comes to sports content, Yahoo has the edge with close to 36 million monthly visitors to the Yahoo Sports website. A video streaming section on Yahoo Sports can take off really well. Now considering that Yahoo could do this without having to burn the bandwidth that YouTube has to on a daily basis, you will call this a pretty smart move.

Yahoo Upshot – Search-Engine Generated News Topics Website

On Tuesday, July 6, Yahoo will announce the launch of a new news section called Yahoo Upshot. This will be one of the more controversial launches from the company in recent times. The launch follows Yahoo’s acquisition of user generated articles website Associated Content earlier this year.

So why is it controversial? Yahoo Upshot is not the traditional news portal where editors come across seemingly attractive topics and write about them. Instead, a team of search engine analysts will look into several keywords that users are searching on the web and use this data to provide the Upshot team with tentative topics that may be written as articles.

Yahoo defends that this is not a manipulation of search engine traffic. Instead, the company says that the data mined from search engines offer great insights into what people are looking for and hence the editorial will be able to serve the needs of these people better.

But there is no denying that Yahoo Upshot will be associated with other companies like Demand Media who similarly mine search engine query data to determine what topics to write on. While this is not entirely a bad thing to do, critics argue that these companies make use of low paid workers to churn out articles to get on top of search engines though their articles are not necessarily the most authoritative.

The debate has been on for quite some time now. It will be interesting to see how the launch of Yahoo Upshot affects this equation.

Ad Supported Printing : HP To Partner With Yahoo Advertising

Very soon, pages you print from the internet using your web-connected HP printer may contain ads. In a pretty controversial move, Hewlett Packard has partnered with Yahoo Advertising for a pilot program that will deliver targeted ads on pages printed using their web connected printers.

HP launched the new web connected printers last week that will allow users to print content directly from the web or use their mobile phones to remotely trigger the printer to print selected pages from the web.

The value proposition for the user is not known. Traditionally, revenues advertising has been used by content creators as an alternative model for paid subscriptions. While that holds good for the traditional print or web medium, it does not however seem fit for HP’s new model. It is not clear if HP plans to subsidize the cost of the printer in exchange for ad-supported printing.

Nevertheless, this can be a controversial move and do not expect consumers to lap it up readily.

[via ComputerWorld]

Yahoo Messenger API To Be Released Soon

Yahoo has announced on their developers blog that the company will be releasing their Yahoo Messenger IM API shortly. This will allow developers to create a whole new range of applications and tools that will use the Yahoo service to create more value adding products.

First thought – the release is a bit too late. Yahoo’s IM service has already peaked and users have now been moving to other services like Facebook to connect. Assuming this service does get its traction, the growth can still be thwarted by Facebook choosing to release their own chat API – something that would be lapped up by developer much more aggressively considering that the social networking service is still in its prime.

Nevertheless, this does hold a lot of potential and can seemingly revive the Instant messenger service. What are your thoughts?

[via Yahoo Developer]

Yahoo Integrating All Properties Under Y.COM?

There has been a lot of debate in the past few months over the future strategy for Yahoo. There is no doubt that the company has some of the finest products in the web space that includes an email service (Yahoo mail), photo sharing service (Flickr), social bookmarking tool (Delicious) besides offering several commercial and enterprise solutions.

Y.com - Yahoo's new parent domainDespite these several services owned by the Sunnyvale based internet giant, the company has been largely seen to be banking on its content portals moving forward. Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz sees her company as a bigger version of AOL, that’s it!

In this context, a recent move by Yahoo to trademark Y.com appears interesting. In January of this year, Yahoo approached the US Patents and Trademark Office to trademark this new domain name. In the trademark description, Yahoo writes,

Creating indexes of information, sites, and other resources available on computer networks for others; searching and retrieving information, sites, and other resources available on computer networks for others; computer services, namely, providing search engines for obtaining data on a global computer network; design, creation, hosting, and maintenance of websites for others; providing temporary use of online non-downloadable software for use in designing, creating, hosting, maintaining, and operating personal web pages; hosting computer software applications of others; providing customized online web pages featuring user-defined information, which includes search engines and online web links to other websites; domain name registration services for identification of users on a global computer network; online computer mapping services; mapping services, namely, providing a website and website links to geographic information, map images, and trip routing; computer services, namely, providing spam filtering, firewall, and parental control online filtering services; providing temporary use of online non-downloadable software in the field of employment information

The description is interesting in that it describes several of Yahoo’s services like Delicious, Flickr in its umbrella of services.

So, that makes me wonder if Yahoo is planning to split their offerings into two – media consumption and tools & services. The Yahoo.com of today shall continue to serve media content while most of the other services including independent sites like Delicious and Flickr may be integrated into the new Y.com.

Alternately, I wonder if Y.com shall be the company’s new integrated parent platform where all of the existing properties shall redirect to. For instance, Flickr will point to flickr.y.com, Delicious will point to delicious.y.com and Yahoo will point to yahoo.y.com

Either ways, it will be interesting to see where things go from here.

Yahoo – FourSquare Acquisition

Rumors are doing the rounds that Yahoo is eyeing popular location based startup FourSquare. The value of the deal is rumored to be $100 million.  According to reports on the Silicon Alley Insider, a source close to Yahoo revealed that the discussions have happened though nothing can be committed since Yahoo talks “to everybody“.

True? Maybe. But VentureBeat sees conspiracy in the whole affair. The website writes that the story could have been cooked up by investment bankers hired by FourSquare in an attempt to push the valuations of the company up. VB writes,

“Foursquare’s bankers are hoping to push the four venture capital firms said to be interested — Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, and Redpoint Ventures — into raising their bids from the currently rumored $80 million valuation by scaring them with the notion of a sale to Yahoo.”

Sounds logical. Where do you think the truth lies?

[via VentureBeat]

Push Email Problem On iPad

Users have been noticing several issues with the iPad. Some of the prominent issues are with Wi-Fi connectivity and over-heating. However the iPad seems to be having problems in a few other areas too.

Users have been noticing on the Apple support forum that the iPad Wi-Fi model does not seem to be supporting push email for clients like Yahoo. A new iPad user writes,

“With iPad, there appears to be no way to set up push email for Yahoo. My iPhone does it no prob, but there is not even an option for Yahoo push, only fetch and manual.”

It is not clear if the issue is just with the Yahoo IMAP or with other third party email servers as well. Also, we wonder if this issue will persist with the 3G version of iPad as well. There has been no response from Apple so far on the issue.

[via Apple Tech]

Yahoo Planning Ads On “Search Via SMS” Feature?

Search via SMS‘ has been tried before though it has not really caught on. However, a patent recently filed at the USPTO by Yahoo indicates that the company could still be looking at SMS-search as an option to look at in the future.

In the patent, the inventors talk about a system where users may send their search query as a text message to a specific number. This search query shall be processed and the results delivered along with contextually targeted advertisements. The inventors write

“The system may allow a user to submit a search from a mobile device through a mobile message, such as a short messaging service (“SMS”) message. The user may send a mobile message containing a search query to a service provider. The service provider may retrieve the search results and an advertisement targeted to the search results. The service provider may transform the search results and advertisement into a mobile message, such as a wireless application protocol (“WAP”) push message. The service provider may encode each search result and advertisement in the mobile message with a service indication. The service indication may cause the mobile device of the user to perform an action, such as open a browser to a related mobile web page, when the user clicks on the search result or advertisement within the mobile message. The service provider may send the message, with the search results and advertisement, to the user. The user may click on a search result or advertisement to view a related mobile web page.”

Yahoo Search via SMSYahoo Search via SMS

Targeted towards developing countries

The idea of search via SMS can appeal to people in the developing world including countries such as India where mobile phone penetration has boomed but internet has not. Keeping with this theme, the inventors claim that the advertisers need not have a web page of their own to advertise and the system will generate a dynamic WAP page that will list their contact information. They write

“If the revenue generator A 110A does not have a mobile site URL for the MNO A 115A, the revenue generator A 110A may still bid on a keyword for the MNO A 115A. In this case, the service provider 130 may dynamically create a “WAP ad.” The “WAP ad” may be an offer landing page containing the phone number of the advertiser and/or the logo of the advertiser. “

It is not clear if Yahoo has serious plans to bring this product to life or is just another patent for posterity. Whatever the case, the intentions seem clearly on monetizing through a lucrative channel that has hitherto remained untapped.