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Yahoo to focus on social search

User-created content is key

In the coming years Yahoo will focus on seeking and adopting new technologies, incorporating user contributions into its services and sites, and extending its reach beyond the PC.

That was the main message from senior executives who spoke during the company's meeting with financial analysts yesterday.

"You're starting to look today at what we consider the next Yahoo," said Chairman Terry Semel.

Among the company's "big bets" for the coming years is to actively employ emerging technologies, as it is doing with Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), Semel said.

Likewise, Yahoo will be bold about embracing trends, such as social media, where online companies such as Yahoo let users create and submit content, such as videos and blog entries, and participate in categorizing content with tags and labels, he said.

Yahoo will continue to seek ways to diversify its revenue streams in online advertising by improving its ad systems' ability to link adverts with users, and to that end it recently unveiled improvements to its paid search platform, he said.

Moreover, the company is intensely involved in delivering services via non-PC devices, such as mobile devices, Semel said.

The media group, which includes Yahoo's websites and services about music, games, movies, TV, news, weather, sports and health, is boosting its systems infrastructure to gain more scale and flexibility, said Lloyd Braun, the group's chief.

For example, the media group is building what he called "an aggregation system" to consolidate all its content feeds and deliver that content in a more horizontal way, he said. "We'll present our content... wherever it's relevant, regardless of the site," Braun said.

Braun's group is working on simplifying and standardising its advertising formats so that they are consistent across its different sites, which he believes will help spur sales.

In the area of video content, Yahoo is developing what he called an "inline video player" that will allow the media group to offer video content and ads inside a page with a consistent look-and-feel, Braun said.

The media group is also busy building what he called publishing tools to allow users, such as bloggers, to post content directly into the media group's websites.


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