updated 10:35 am EST, Tue February 12, 2008
Yahoo today used Mobile World Congress as the platform for the release of oneConnect, a new service both for its mobile website and for its Yahoo Go 3.0 mobile portal. The front-end is designed to eliminate the isolation that often exists between most forms of communication on cellphones and online services: a widget interface provides access to multiple common webmail services such as Gmail or Yahoo's own service, while both instant messaging and SMS text messaging across multiple networks can be merged into a single, iChat-like interface that boasts threaded conversations.
Social networks also play an important part, says Yahoo. A component known as Pulse will provide recent updates from multiple social networks, including Facebook, MySpace, and other major sites. Each address book contact is now also a social contact that includes not just basic communication info but also recent social network updates as well as recent e-mail, IM, or SMS conversations, enabling a user to track friends regardless of what they use to communicate with others. Some implementations will also include location sensitivity to find new users nearby, while a future update may also allow Microsoft Exchange e-mail and Office documents to be viewable from the same interface.
The oneConnect platform is claimed as open and will include a programming interface for developers that want to add their own services into the messaging system. Yahoo anticipates launching both the web and dedicated application versions of the service during the spring.