The web’s first (and some might still argue only) “killer app,” email, was invented roughly 35 years ago. And everyone seems to have ideas on how to bring it into the 21st Century. Google Wave is aiming to be an email replacement of sorts: a real-time, social communication and collaboration platform.
Yahoo, for its part, is pursuing a “smarter inbox” strategy, which has a social media dimension. As part of executing on that strategy it has acquired Xoopit, which developed photo-sharing for Yahoo Mail and GMail (although that will likely come to an end). The estimated value of the deal was $20 million. According to the Yodel Anecdotal blog:
With the integration of Xoopit’s platform technology and capabilities, the task of sending photos via email will be as easy as it should be and sharing photo albums with friends and family members will also be a cinch. You’ll be able to share your pictures among a group of friends or family like never before – combining pictures from numerous sources into a single album for a private group to view. And soon your inbox will become an organized photo index as well . . . Why is this such a big deal? Yahoo! Mail is actually home to one of the largest online photo repositories in the world.
Here’s how Xoopit described itself at the company’s launch in early 2008:
[Xoopit] bring[s] the power of the social web to email by combining the benefits of social networks and media management within email environments. Xoopit finds the pictures, videos, and files buried in webmail’s gigabytes of free storage and allows users to share, comment, and post them to their contacts on other social networks and blogs.
According to Hitwise, Yahoo Mail contributes more than 30 percent of Yahoo’s overall traffic and is a bigger property than the homepage: