Yahoo Opens Mail with New Application Platform

You may remember our earlier coverage of the Yahoo Open Strategy (YOS), which provides developers with access to Yahoo’s tools and data to build applications that leverage three core elements: Yahoo Application Platform (YAP), Yahoo Social Platform (YSP), and Yahoo Query Language (YQL). Now Yahoo has released a limited beta of a new Applications for Yahoo Mail which enables developers to build applications within Yahoo Mail (more details at our new Yahoo Mail API profile).

Yahoo! Mail Flickr App

According to the Yahoo Developer Network Blog:

To create applications for Yahoo! Mail, developers will be using the Yahoo Application Platform to build, test, and submit their apps. Developers will be able to embed a JavaScript application inside an iframe running in the all-new Yahoo Mail. These apps can then interact with the Mail Container—and do things like register a Callback when a message is dragged-and-dropped onto your app, pop open a new Compose tab with app-generated content, or Fetch social data from around the Yahoo network through YQL—using the JS APIs we provide. They can also call out to your own or a third party’s web services, optionally using OAuth or a Flickr-style signed-call-home for authentication.

The private beta rollout includes several applications by popular third parties, including Flickr, Flixster, Wordpress, and Xoopit. Although new applications can't be developed yet, Yahoo has made documentation and design guidelines available to developers. Note that according to Yahoo developer access to the new APIs will be phased in:

There’s a long list of areas we’d like to open up while we’re “rewiring Yahoo!.” As we expand the API list, we will also invite developers to build applications on the all-new Yahoo! Mail gradually and deliberately over 2009. We don’t have a wait list in place yet, but stay tuned to this blog for more detailed information in the coming months.

Yahoo Mail is one of the most popular email services out there, with an estimated 275 million monthly visitors, so building an application that gets exposure to even a small percentage of these users has the potential to make your application quite popular. You can read more coverage on the news at TechCrunch, Wired, VentureBeat, Profy, and the Yahoo Mail Blog. We'll be interested in seeing some of the new applications developed for Yahoo Mail, and we look forward to seeing Yahoo continue to open up its platform.

Be sure to read the next Mail article: Today in APIs: You've got Gmail—in Radically New Formats, Thanks to the New API