Yahoo just opened its doors to a bunch of new OpenSocial apps. People who use MyYahoo as a startpage can now add apps from Mint, KaChing, WordPress, and more. The apps include a small view which appear on your MyYahoo page, but can also open up into a canvas view (which is essentially a dedicated page on Yahoo for that particular app). The Mint app, for instance, gives you a dashboard view of your finances and alerts. The WordPress app lets you do a quick post to your blog right from Yahoo. All together, Yahoo added 14 new apps for users to choose from. You can check your meds (Drugs.com), gas prices (GasBuddy), fantasy stock portfolio (kaChing), food and wine pairings (MyRecipes + Snooth), share books (WeRead), or just play Flood-It (LabPixies). You gotta add Flood-It, love that game.
The underlying apps will benefit from getting extra exposure on MyYahoo, but it won’t drive much traffic to their sites. People who want to go deeper into the apps will simply open up a canvas page, much like they do on Facebook. But that is okay, because it shouldn’t really matter where your users interact with your service. For Yahoo, this is yet another step in its effort to be the starting point on the Web for its users. The nice thing about the OpenSocial apps is that users don’t have to leave Yahoo to engage with them. So it is really Yahoo’s way of remaining a destination site and keeping its users within its walls, even if they are using non-Yahoo services. Today, Yahoo is also bringing some new add-ons into Yahoo! Mail, including PayPal and Picnik. And Yahoo! TV (which is built into some Samsung and LG TVs) now lets you watch YouTube videos.
The apps are built on top of the Yahoo! Application Platform (YAP). The canvas views at least support OpenSocial, but app developers still have to tweak the apps to make them Yahoo-friendly. For instance, the “small view” (i.e. the widgets which actually appear on the MyYahoo page) must be developed using “Yahoo! Markup Language” (YML), which is an extension of HTML with more bells and whistles. Yahoo is trying to bring together YML and the OpenSocial Markup Language (OSML), but right now they are forked. But turning an OpenSocial app into one that works inside Yahoo is getting easier. Yahoo joined OpenSocial last year. No word yet on when MyYahoo will start supporting Facebook apps. Oh right, cause that’s never gonna happen.