Yahoo Offers Social Connect App for IPhone

Yahoo launched a new application for the iPhone that connects a long list of popular social networks within one interface.

OneConnect for the iPhone is a free application available in the Apple App Store that also integrates instant messaging and short messaging into one application.

The Pulse feature in OneConnect lets users see a status list of their friends that pulls from social-networking applications including Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Bebo, Friendster, Flickr and Last.fm. The list is populated chronologically, with the most recent update from a friend on any of the sites at the top.

"Rather than going to six sites, you need one click on Pulse in OneConnect," said Macro Boerries, executive vice president of Yahoo's Connected Life group, at the CTIA conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.

A separate Favorites list lets users get an update on just a handful of specific people.

The messaging component in OneConnect lets a user click on a contact and see a conversation with that person, integrating IM and SMS messages. If, for example, a customer has started a conversation with IM, the customer can later continue that conversation using SMS, and all the messages will be integrated in the conversation stream.

The OneConnect application was built using Blueprint, a development environment Yahoo first introduced earlier this year to allow developers to build applications that can work across a range of phones. Yahoo expects to offer OneConnect to users of other devices in the coming months.

When Yahoo first introduced Blueprint, developers could only build widgets that are available within YahooGo, software that users download to phones for optimum use of applications such as Yahoo mail, stock quotes and weather. On Wednesday, Yahoo said that Blueprint now allows developers to build applications that run on Java, Windows Mobile and Symbian. That means developers can write an application once that can run on hundreds of devices, said Boerries.

Yahoo is offering developers a software development kit, developer tools, reference tutorials and the option to use Yahoo's advertising network to generate revenue on applications.

Blueprint also now includes a new developer tool that makes it easier to build mobile Web sites that will display optimally on thousands of devices, which might have different screen sizes, resolutions and browsers. The developer preview of that tool is available immediately, with a full release to follow later this year.

Yahoo created a Blueprint environment for the iPhone in order to develop the OneConnect application. The company is in discussions with Apple about sharing the environment with other developers, but for now it's only used internally by Yahoo to develop iPhone applications.

Yahoo is among many companies competing for developer attention. Because mobile phones run on many different incompatible operating systems, developers must re-write their applications for different types of phones. They'll gravitate toward the development environment that they find the most attractive and that can offer them the best chance to earn revenue.

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