Despite the popularity of microblogging, instant messaging and social networks, it is still email that plays the biggest role in communicating across the Internet. This fact is not lost on the big players, who are actively looking for ways to add value to their email services. We have already reported on some changes Google have made to Gmail, implementing the OAuth protocol to make it more open and secure for external access. But, it seems that Yahoo beat them to the post, having also implemented OAuth for their Yahoo Mail API:
Today we're super exited to announce our OAuth API for Yahoo Mail! Not only have we moved to a much cleaner authentication technology, but we have removed all the restrictions limiting message access of "free" accounts. That means that you can now use the full API for all Yahoo Mail users regardless of their free/premium status, accessing full message contents if your application needs it.
While both Gmail and Yahoo Mail now support OAuth, there are some subtle differences. Google choose to allow OAuth authentication via the existing functionality provided by the IMAP and SMTP protocols, while OAuth authentication in Yahoo Mail is provided by their web service.
Yahoo has set up a Twitter account where you can follow all the latest developments for the Yahoo Mail web service, and the documentation pages include details and examples of the new OAuth functionality. There is also an active discussion on Yahoo Groups relating to the announcement. For more on the API see our Yahoo Mail API profile.
The combination of OAuth, Mail and Contacts is also being promoted by Yahoo as “a veritable smore of data goodness”.