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Yahoo News is seeing huge returns from Facebook's Open Graph, is this the future of Flickr?

Here Mike Kerns, who runs social and personalization at +Yahoo! News talks to me about the effects Yahoo has seen thanks to the inclusion of Open Graph technology from Facebook (AKA "frictionless sharing").

I think this could be the future of Yahoo's strategy. Why? I know this will be an unpopular view here, but you can't ignore the effect that they are seeing "the numbers have beaten all of our expectations," Kerns sees. Over 10 million people joined. 600% increase in traffic from Facebook to Yahoo. Demographic shift: marked increase in users under 30 years old.

These numbers show that this is a strategy that Yahoo should expand on.

By the way, I'm hearing that Open Graph expands on December 15th, which probably also means that the other features Facebook showed off at F8 will ship then too (like Timeline and Ticker).

For those who didn't see the Open Graph video I posted from a visit to Facebook last week to see +Carl Sjogreen(he manages the product team for Facebook's Platform), you should watch that at http://youtu.be/TM-2fNtg7p8 (you should also see the reaction that video caused over on https://plus.google.com/111091089527727420853/posts/HQJN55rc7ny ).

You might hate this feature, but it's very important to pay attention to so you can, at minimum, explain it to your friends and family.
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65 comments
 
I haven't used anything yahoo in 7 or 8 years

Also, Open Graph ruins sharing. I don't want to have to install apps to read articles. On top of that, apps that I do install get permission to post things I read or just look at. That is not organic sharing. I believe sharing should be a conscious decision, not the result of mindless apps running in the background.
 
I just wish the Open Graph meta data stuff actually worked for sharing links and having the right image show up on facebook when you share it... it's been a freaking nightmare getting that stuff to work right, and googling for it just makes it more confusing cuz everyone has a different solution for it that doesn't work and facebook's dev area rarely has good answers and definitely not for this one.
 
+Ed Muntz an old-school Silicon Valley media company that still has hundreds of millions of users.

+Mahesh Hariharan for content you don't pay for this isn't that big a deal. Really. "Ruins" sharing? I don't think so. I've seen more Yahoo stuff come through Facebook in past two months than I saw in previous two years.
 
Can we estimate the net new increase of web usage from the social graph? Ultimately people's time is bounded, so the early adopters can see 600% increase, but when everyone uses the FB API, what will be the competitive advantage?
 
Oh, so yahoo! still operates?
 
+Robert Scoble That may be good for Yahoo, but I don't see crowding streams of friends with news articles that I might have just glanced at as adding any value. Like I said, sharing should be organic, a conscious decision, and not the result of automatic sharing because I had an app from the content provider installed. In some cases, this might just increase the "noise" in facebook feeds which is already too cumbersome to deal with.
 
+Mahesh Hariharan you don't crowd streams of friends with anything. It goes on your ticker, separate from your feed. It has a LOT of value and the numbers that Mike gives in video above prove it. Will you please just watch the video before you pop off? I know you haven't watched it yet because it hasn't been up long enough for you to watch it all.
 
Not a big yahoo fan, but that's really cool...
 
I have seen such sharing, It's nice although it hasn't gotten me to click through yet. If it doesn't upset people as extra noise, it will be a good tool to get content.
 
I had youtube Auto-share, but didn't like it so i turned the option off
 
+David Haddad yes, Yahoo is a pioneer here. Very strange saying that about Yahoo. It's been years since they really did anything interesting.
 
+Robert Scoble Is it not part of the Open Graph where there is a box at the top of the stream where it says "so and so read an article on the Guardian" and has a few links in there? This is actually in the main feed. Other parts may integrate in the ticker. When I click on those links, instead of taking me directly to the article, I get a pop-up asking me to install the app to read the article. How does that not introduce "friction" into sharing? How is it adding value if something that I just glance at gets added to the ticker? The thing is you think in terms of adding value from the point of view of the corporation (Yahoo). How is this adding value to users? If I don't make a conscious decision to share, how is it adding value to my friends?
 
+Mahesh Hariharan I am getting a HUGE amount of value out of this as a user. I'm seeing a ton of news I wouldn't have seen before. Facebook is a new media company: where the media comes to you. If I don't like the news that my friends are reading I just set them to send me fewer items and things quiet down very quickly.
 
+Robert Scoble Don't you think this open graph will help only developers and companies.. what about normal users? they don't care about it... they want only old FB(just friending) not what's coming!.. FB may loose users, if more medias are coming in their stream.. now I can just see pics(most of all funny pics) in FB.
 
+Sandesh Kumar normal users care about it a lot. Either they love it or they hate it. My wife and I love it. Others might hate it. So turn it off or don't use these apps. Or switch to Google+. No biggie.
 
Guys, for as much as we may think Yahoo is irrelevant, all I can say is they're not just rolling over and dying. They still have capital, users, revenue, and for as much damage as they've done to themselves, they are currently at a much better vantage point to be relevant and prominent once again. In fact, one could argue that they are in a better position right now then most startups ever get to. With that said, I still don't see the innovation here (although, I only got to watch the first 7 min). They are using someone else's platform to gain market share - ehh.
 
I agree that the Facebook integration brought a lot of traffic to Yahoo, specifically the younger demographic that Yahoo has been trying to court to no success. It's amazing for content discovery and immediately gives people context when reading news because they see what friends have been reading which easily sparks conversations. Only problem I see here is I think most of the conversations triggered by social discovery still happen on FB, not Yahoo. Yahoo should be working on growing engagement on their products, but the FB integration only brings more PVs, not really true engagement between users.
 
+John Ramirez Yahoo's problem is that they don't act like a single company. This could be the stitching that brings all their pieces together. If they can push traffic around using these social technologies that is a HUGE win for them.
 
+Robert Scoble I can understand we might be exposed to a broader base of content as a result of Open Graph, but would you say that sharing without any filter on your own part, and letting the apps share automatically is always better? Personal curation is very important when sharing. There may be settings to turn off automatic sharing, but isn't that the entire point of the Open Graph - to enable "frictionless" sharing? Facebook settings have always eluded users and I don't think this makes things any easier.
 
Also, the Open Graph stuff, which goes WAY beyond just "frictionless sharing" is mostly in a separate UI from your main feed.
 
Haven't used Yahoo since elementary school when we were encouraged to use "Yahooligans" so our innocent eyes wouldn't be raped by Google's mastery of the internet.
 
Just curious +Robert Scoble , do you feel this will lead to a dependency of sorts on facebook for these companies?
 
I know that I, as a technology enthusiast, try everything new in technology and adopt it and give it a chance. I don't think the Open Graph in Facebook is any easier for those outside of the tech circle and the power users. From the comments on Robert Scoble's Facebook page, it does seem like at least some of the facebook users agree.
 
Count me as one of the "normal users" who hates Yahoo! News' new ubiquity on Facebook. Since I have long since suppressed the ticker, I am only familiar with Yahoo! News through their spamming of my feed "frictionless sharing," which (until I installed Social Fixer) was polluting my FB feed with mostly stale and mostly violent news stories. I can tell you that now I would rather rip my eyeballs out than use Yahoo! News.
 
Yahoo looks like what Facebook would look like if they were a full-on media company (11:50), color scheme and all. Maybe Yahoo sees a Facebook acquisition as its exit and is making that decision easier by doing the integration themselves. It will be a media property for Facebook on a silver platter (given Y! executes this integration well).
 
+Mahesh Hariharan When sharing is controlled at the app end, there's the possibility to have apps that help with curation and only share when you think the content is ready. Whether this will happen or not depends on whether users demand it, and on how much users tolerate the indiscriminate sharing a lot of apps do today.
 
I opted out of a yahoo sharing thing on facebook and googled it instead
 
+Chris McIntosh It's Facebook's huge userbase that creates dependencies. Using their API doesn't create it. You can always use multiple APIs, moreso these days as standards coalesce (e.g. OAuth2, PubSubHubbub)
 
Yahoo News has always been quite good, but let's see what it looks like 6 months from now when there are more news apps on FB. Before I cut out everyone but family on FB, I didn't find the Yahoo news stories to be all that interesting, mostly just the top headlines, but ymmv.
 
(11m30s) Yahoo has taken care to store the data themselves, avoiding unnecessary dependencies.
 
Great interview! I feel better now about Yahoo, understanding what they want to do.
 
Not for me but if it helps Yahoo!, as a business, they have to shoot for it... Just because it's not for me doesn't mean it isn't for anybody...

Wonder if FaceBook would allow frictionless sharing from Google+ HAH!
 
Google would have to adopt 'opengraph' - which ain't really open :)
 
the ultimate test is in revenues, lets see if Yahoo makes huge money from display ads because of the 600 percent jump in traffic to yahoo news from facebook
 
The open graph, ticker, timeline and the new news feed combined - makes FaceBook one of the most important things ever. One can view the "open graph" as a huge brain with a life of its own. "Minor" issued of UI will change along it's future development - but having a one Graph which combines Everybody and Everything, to include description of who is doing what both in the virtual world and in reality is a huge thing. In a way - it will have a life of it's own - it is not a question of "good" or "bad" - it is here to stay and the question is how to steer it so it will make our lives better and minimize the risks. History in the making!
 
Privacy is not an option, privacy is firmly embedded in our lives. Everybody loves a little bit of privacy no matter how open we profess to be. It's the reason we don't take our food and go out to eat on the streets, it's the reason we scream when our neighbor is playing very loud music, The love for privacy is the reason we sometimes seclude ourselves in order to have more time to ourselves. Even a madman loves privacy. Facebook's so called frictionless sharing invades all this. Facebook is hoping(even though they will never say it publicly) that the less enlightened Facebook users who constitute the majority, will not notice what's going on.
+Robert Scoble Facebook has 800 million users.Lets assume all of them are active, and all understand fully what frictionless sharing and Open graph is all about. Please give me a hypothetical guesstimate (in percentage) of how many users will like and support frictionless sharing
 
I am truly excited about this. Love who simple it is. Even though I'm not a big Yahoo fan. I will use this a lot.
 
I might actually turn on the Spotify sharing if there were settings to control when a track is shared (maybe something similar to the Youtube sharing settings). For example, only share tracks that I've rated 3 stars or higher or have played a certain number of times. Seems like that might be a more valuable representation of my musical endorsements instead of just sharing every track I happen to click on.
 
This sort of thing has absolutely ruined Facebook. I had to block Yahoo's app because of this nonsense being constantly added. Ditto Spotify and the Washington Post.

I don't think making it easier for companies to automatically spam my FB stream is a good thing. You may like it, but I hate it, and I'm never going to like it. I'm not interested in seeing what my friends are reading, or listening to, or any of that crap. I'm interested in seeing what they have intentionally and deliberately chosen to share only. Overshare is a real thing, and frictionless sharing crosses way beyond that line.
 
What is ironic is that Yahoo! Has so much footprint across these verticals it is outstanding, however they have failed in promoting themselves in the same way Facebook and google has. Mike kern was almost thinking when you suggested the connection between all the real estate as if he just joined the dots now. I think they should blow their own trumpet more and continue to innovate even in small increments to keep a positive light in the press. That said worth 800 uniques so they really need to care about what we non users think beyond their own users?
 
a simpler implementation of google wave? i might be able to get my mom to chat!
 
Except this is destroying Yahoo from the inside out by taking any control of their own future away from them.
 
Is Open Graph already available for that many people?
 
What is unique about this? I believe Washington post already does this..you can link your FB account to WP and read the articles that your friends have!
 
I encountered first time last night. Someone read an article in the Guardian. Showed up in their stream (and based on who it is, not sure they even realized). I click the (what I think is normal) link and boom -- I have an app request all up in my grille. There is no farking way I am going to add a fb app, just to follow a link. Plus, this is in combination with fb giving us "warnings" on some normal links, that we're about to leave the precious "safety" of fb. What a delicious mix of irony, hypocrisy, and obnoxiousness. In short: Please stop trying to turn the internet back into Prodigy and Compuserve.
 
I would have to agree with +Robert Scoble (and this is rare ;-) on this one that Mahesh Hariharan has probably not watched the video. They clearly go into some detail on how you can selectively NOT share articles you read. I think the discussion about commenting on articles that only select friends can see is going to be interesting. It gives a way to more privately discuss a news article with just a select group of friends. 
 
A key point.. Yahoo has the HUGE advantage of limited availability here. Once Open Graph is widely available, the amount of noise/sharing in the Facebook stream is going to grow soo significantly that I highly doubt a new entry would see this kind of traffic increase. It's not like everyone's going to start reading 600% more
 
Nice mike. It's been cool to see what you/others are reading on Y! on FB over the past few weeks/months. Good fielding of some of the tougher questions around Y!.
 
I did watch the video. As I point out, most people don't use these utilities the same way as power users. Facebook settings have always eluded users outside of the power users. Just ask someone who has tried controlling sharing with Facebook privacy settings. Things have improved, but facebook's mentality is still the same. Whenever there is user backlash for being opted in to a new feature, which more often than not loosens the privacy settings, by default, the Facebook "apology" always says something along the lines of "we are sorry you are not ready for what we see as the future." What Facebook is creating is a closed ecosystem. Obviously, it is in facebook's interest to have users stay on its page and get all the content. This is good for Facebook, but not necessarily good for the broader internet. What goes in Facebook stays in Facebook, meaning no one outside of Facebook has access to the data to do meaningful things with it. This is why Google is fighting with Facebook over its control of user data. The data is the property of the users, but the users don't have the freedom to do what they want with it. Facebook is a one way pipe and that is not always a good thing. Greg Powell, just look at what Greg Hendershott wrote.
 
+Mahesh Hariharan I think that you are "hinting" at the fact that companies on the Internet want to control their data they collect. This is nothing new. I would also argue that Yahoo! will control a lot of this new data as well (as they detailed out in the video). Facebook will leverage Yahoo! and gain access to all the links and news content that the user read/click/share but it is not completely taken away from Yahoo!. Yahoo! gains a wealth of information from using the Facebook API and get to leverage the user base of Facebook. I think you may just not like these large companies knowing this much about you and would rather somehow have the service offered to you in a way that the provider does not track/store/use any information they learn about your behavior. I don't think Facebook or Yahoo! or Google have ever or will ever stop leveraging their user base for promoting growth and revenue for their companies. People do need to stay on top of them for controlling some privacy but using the services (like Facebook and Google) you are already agreeing to the fact that they will hold, maintain, and use the information you post/share through them. There are many ways that you can leverage these services as a user to your advantage. It is not all negative. And of course you can always choose to not use the services or the apps associated with them.
 
+Greg Powell I agree that using services offered by Facebook and Google offer plenty of benefits. I am just thinking from the point of view of the regular user. Power users like us may understand the privacy implications of using such services, but I don't think such understanding is common among the masses. Hence my point regarding the maze of Facebook settings to control how, where and with whom the data is shared. More transparency and ease of use are key.
 
Facebook + yahoo! = Facebook
 
Having just gone through the process of linking Yahoo to Facebook account, there are WAY too many clicks and steps. Even if it's a great thing, they have to work on the ease of signup.
 
how do you add the titles in bold to your posts?
 
It isn't a strategy, when other media outlets become facebook news partners too, yahoo will be back to where they're.
 
Egad, +Robert Scoble, have you fallen victim to AP's change from "Yahoo!" to "Yahoo?" In my opinion, those idiots have absolutely no right to change a company's name to whore themselves for one less character. I have to edit by AP to some degree at DMS, but luckily I am senior editor and have the capacity to say "uh, no."
 
at 11:20 in the video Kerns says he is not just caching, but STORING FB user data on Yahoo severs. Isn't this against FB terms of service?


Please see the section entitled Storing and Using Data You Receive From Us in the Facebook Platform Policies page. The applicable item is:

You may cache data you receive through use of the Facebook API in order to improve your application’s user experience, but you should try to keep the data up to date. This permission does not give you any rights to such data.

So, no, you do not own the data nor are you allowed to use it as the "data of record" - i.e. your official permanent copy. You are required to at most cache the data temporarily and refresh it frequently. Facebook remains the system of record and official repository for the data.
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