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Yahoo Inc. has begun testing a new service dubbed "Mash," in the latest attempt to catch up MySpace and Facebook in the social networking stakes, media reported Sunday.
"We just started inviting our friends outside Yahoo! to join us in testing Mash," Will Aldrich, the head of Mash, writes in a blog Friday.
Mash claims to have a new approach to online profiles. Users can start profiles for their friends and "open" their own profile to friends they trust, according to the blog.
Social networking has been one of the hottest areas of the Web in recent years. MySpace, the world's biggest social network, was sold to News Corp in 2005 for 580 million U.S. dollars. Facebook, MySpace's next-biggest rival, is thought to have walked away from a 1 billion dollar buy-out offer from Yahoo last year.
Mash marks Yahoo's second attempt to cash in on the social networking craze. Its previous social networking offering, Yahoo 360, has failed to gain much ground.
Mash: Yahoo! Tries to Catch Up With Facebook
Friday saw the beta launch, to invitees only, of Yahoo!'s latest attempt to catch up Facebook in the social networking stakes. Called "pretty raw" still even by its own project leader, Will Aldrich - ("there are bugs and we haven't gotten to several of the features it really should have") - Mash claims to have a new approach to online profiles.
"We just started inviting our friends outside Yahoo! to join us in testing Mash," blogs Aldrich.
"If you've used other online profiles before you'll feel at home in Mash," he continues, "But there are some new twists that make things a little interesting and, we think, a lot of fun."
He lists those twists as follows:
You can make starter profiles for your friends. Think: "first round's on me."
You can leave your profile open to contributions by trusted friends.
You can customize your - or your friend's - profile with modules from a growing gallery of apps.
"Of course, there are extensive privacy controls in Mash and you set the boundaries that you're comfortable with," Aldrich adds.
The site also gives you the option to undo each change made to your profile.