Yahoo to launch social networking portal

A new consumer-focused social networking offering from Yahoo will soon be launched in beta, according to information on the Yahoo website.

Called Yahoo 360°, the new service will include a wide range of offerings including blogs and photo sharing. The most interesting aspect of the offering looks to be the way in which all the elements are tightly integrated into a broad social network service where you will be able to easily share and exchange information, chats, files, etc, with family and friends.

Signing up for the service will be by invitation only, according to Yahoo (similar to how Google introduced Gmail).

This looks like the end of any speculation that Yahoo might be interested in acquiring Six Apart for its blogging offerings, especially the hosted TypePad service.

I would imagine that Yahoo 360° will directly compete with MSN Spaces, the social networking/blogging service launched by Microsoft last December.

The only thing I can see with Yahoo’s offering which is a problem is the name: specifically, the ‘degrees’  part (that’s what the little symbol is next to the number). I had to hunt around to type it in this post as it’s not on a standard keyboard – it’s Alt-0176 on Windows keyboard, if you want to know – so I wonder how long it will be before it gets known simply as ‘Yahoo 360.’

For additional info – including mention of a launch date of 29 March – see this post late yesterday by Charlene Li of Forrester Research. See also this report from ZDNet.

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