Yahoo opens up e-mail APIs to outsiders

Yahoo on Wednesday is expected to release software that will allow third-party developers to write applications using Yahoo Mail. The move to open up the application programming interfaces (APIs) to Yahoo Mail is meant to encourage Web developers to build applications that use the mail service. The company expects these third-party "mashups," hybrid software that combines content from more than one source, will bring in more customers. "There is tremendous potential for additional usage of Mail. By providing more user experiences, we believe we will increase engagement and utilization of the platform," said John Kraemer, vice president of Yahoo Mail.

Yahoo is also providing financial incentive to developers, offering $10 for every new Yahoo Mail premium account that third parties bring in during a trial period. The APIs will be available either via the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) or JSON, a JavaScript-based method. One new application that was built by an outside developer creates a connection between Yahoo Mail and Yahoo's Flickr photo-sharing site. Each time a new e-mail comes in, the service looks at the subject line and retrieves a photo from Flickr based on the words of a subject line. E-mail pertaining to a trip to France, for example, could automatically generate photos of the Eiffel Tower, explained Chad Dickerson, senior director of the Yahoo Developer Network.

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> E-mail pertaining to a trip to France, for example, could automatically generate photos of the Eiffel Tower

Should be interesting to see what pictures get retrieved to go along with the crap that ends up in my Yahoo mail account.

But seriously...that sounds absolutely dreadful. When I open an email, I don't want a bazillion different automated systems look at it to throw some advertising at me. Just show me my email, and get the hell out of my face.

Introducing the Yahoo! Mail Web Service

With the Yahoo! Mail Web Service, you can connect to the core mail platform to perform typical mailbox tasks for premium users such as list messages and folders, and compose and send messages (you can also build mail preview tools for free users with limited Web Service functionality).

Thats good that the free email account users are not left out. Now programs such as Trillian will stop reporting the wrong number of emails (everytime i run Trillian i get a pop-up saying i have new mail when i dont) now that they can use this web service for email notifications.