As it continues to layer new social features onto its Web properties, Yahoo is expanding its partnership with Facebook to sync up the two services.
Under the new arrangement, users will be able to couple their Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) and Facebook accounts so they can access their news feed, mail and other information from the popular social networking site on Yahoo's home page, Webmail service and other properties.
And it goes both ways. Users who upload photos to Yahoo's Flickr or share content on the company's news and entertainment sites can broadcast those activities to their Facebook accounts.
The move builds on a partnership Yahoo first signed with Facebook in December, and continues the company's efforts to position itself as a centerpiece of the Web by adding a social dimension to its online services such as search and e-mail, as well as its sprawling content network. Yahoo boasts that it now has more than 80 Web properties where users are creating and sharing content.
"As the place that 600 million people visit every month, Yahoo is in a unique position to bring together different social experiences from across the Web to a single place," Jim Stoneham, vice president of Yahoo Communities, and Cody Simms, senior director of the company's social platforms division, wrote in a blog post.
Among its other social initiatives, Yahoo has forged a partnership with Twitter to integrate real-time content from the microblogging service into its search results, and struck a deal with the social-gaming firm Zynga to make its games available on the Yahoo Application Platform.
But efforts across the industry to introduce new social features and establish intricate connections throughout the Web have encountered heightened criticism from consumer groups and some government officials who worry that efforts such as Facebook's Instant Personalization and Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Buzz are an affront to users' privacy.
Though it has managed to avoid the wave of bad press that has recently washed over those companies, Yahoo has faced its share of scrutiny regarding online privacy, and has made several concessions to critics, such as shortening the length of time it retains personal information in its server logs and offering users an online tool to view and edit their data-collection profiles.
Now Yahoo is going a step farther and planning to integrate new, simplified privacy controls into its social hub, which it is dubbing Pulse. Set to go live this week, Pulse is replacing Yahoo Profiles, and will include what the company describes as a streamlined central dashboard for users to control how their information is shared across Yahoo's social platform.
"Our vision is to provide a central hub for people's online lives, and we understand that requires a Web you can trust," Stoneham and Simms said.