Yahoo follows Bebo with new social inbox

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The social inbox is continuing to get more user friendly. Last week Bebo announced its Social Inbox, which aggregates feeds and updates from Twitter, Flickr, Del.icio.us, YouTube and AIM; as well as access to Gmail, Yahoo Mail and AOL Mail into one home page stop. This week Yahoo has its own user-friendly inbox, deemed the “Smarter Inbox.”

The new Smarter Inbox integrates social functionality and content services to from outside of the Yahoo network into the Yahoo Mail Inbox. It features a new Yahoo Mail Welcome Page with messages, information and activity updates from a user's contacts.

"We've created a smarter inbox experience to address the problem of inbox overload,” said John Kremer, VP of Yahoo Mail, in a statement. “We're also embedding really useful applications directly into the inbox, which should help people be even more efficient when they get to Yahoo Mail."

Like a Facebook feed or the new Bebo Social Inbox, the Yahoo offering lets users elect their favorite people to connect with and see feeds of the current activities of these people. In addition, users can filter their inboxes to create a filtered view of what they see in their inbox and inbox folders, placing preferred messages and contacts at a greater level of importance.

The initial integration of updates into Yahoo Mail also will include user activity related to new connections, the universal Yahoo profile, Yahoo Buzz, and Yahoo properties such as TV, Music and Travel. Third-party Web sites can also integrate their users' activity streams with Yahoo Updates using  Yahoo Social.

In addition, Yahoo has started a limited beta test bringing third-party applications into Yahoo Mail including Family Journal, Flickr, Flixster, WordPress and Xoopit. This will be accessible to beta testers in the US initially and will open up to general users sometime in 2009.

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