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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Microsoft to join Web 2.0 data portability group, says source contact-sharing organization reels in a big catch, the fast-emerging group that wants to make it easier for users to share their personal contacts between different Web 2.0 and social media services, has landed perhaps its biggest fish yet: Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft will officially announce its intention to join the international workgroup within a day or two, according to a source close to the matter.

Microsoft began talking to soon after Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and Plaxo Inc. all announced their support several weeks ago, said the source.

The working group counts 60 members, most representing Web 2.0 firms such as Yahoo Inc., LinkedIn, Twitter and SixApart.

Microsoft would seem to be the odd man out, not being part of the tight-knit Silicon Valley fraternity as well as a laggard in Web 2.0.

However, Microsoft is a stealth social networking giant, with more than 400 million users with accounts at Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger or both, according to an interview late last week with Adam Sohn, a director in Microsoft's online services business.

And in social media, Microsoft is a major player. According to Nielsen Online, visit statistics from last August, 2 Windows Live Spaces and MSN Groups together make Microsoft the second-largest social networking provider, behind MySpace but ahead of Facebook and Classmates Online as well as Google and Yahoo's efforts.

"Most major applications will probably be touched by social features in the coming years -- and no one has a broader distribution of applications and data than Microsoft," said the source.

Over the years, out in front

Microsoft has also been early in other efforts to make social media services play better together.

For instance, it pledged last February to back the OpenID Web authentication standard, a move Yahoo! did not make until last week.

OpenID promises to let users sign on once and be authenticated to log in to multiple Web sites.

And last May, Microsoft loosened its group on its Windows Live application programming interfaces (APIs), including its Windows Live Contacts API, through which outside services, when properly authenticated, can connect and securely download contact data from Hotmail or Windows Live Messenger users.

Google and Yahoo offer similar authorized APIs.

Any service with fewer than one million users is allowed to use the Windows Live Contacts API for free. Larger services are asked to pay a fee of 25 cents per user per year to cover Microsoft's costs, though Microsoft will waive that fee for services willing to integrate Windows Live Messenger or a Windows Live Search box onto their sites.

Still, Microsoft remains dogged by an anti-social reputation. Last Friday, reported that unnamed Silicon Valley social networking firms were accusing Microsoft of holding its users' personal contacts data hostage as leverage for partnership negotiations.

Unnamed startups told that they had even received legal threats from Microsoft.

"This is a great example of why Google is the leader in the Net ecosystem and Microsoft is not," one 'angry entrepreneur' told "Microsoft is the anti-data-portability company."

Sohn said that Microsoft had sent such letters only to companies that were bypassing its authorized API to "screenscrape" users' personal data.

Screenscraping, Scoble, and suits

Screenscraping involves services that log in to users' accounts at other services in order to take virtual snapshots of contact data such as names, e-mail addresses and birthdays.

It came to prominence earlier this month after prominent blogger (and former Microsoft employee) Robert Scoble was initially banned from Facebook after using such a service, Plaxo Pulse, to transfer his database of 5,000 Facebook friends to Plaxo in order to avoid retyping them.

Microsoft and Facebook may have hit a backlash by getting tough on screenscraping, but no social networking service condones it, according to Niall Kennedy, a San Francisco Web entrepreneur.

"When Google and Yahoo see this behavior, they're not happy with it, either," Kennedy said in an interview late last week, due to the threat of phishing-related data theft and invasions of privacy.

Snaring is caring? faces similar challenges convincing people that it is making data insecure for the sake of user convenience and choice.

"I have some issues with the [] slogan -- Sharing is Caring. It's not caring if your 'friends' don't want their data shared and you do anyway," wrote Redmonk analyst James Governor.

Others argue that Silicon Valley firms embracing are being too US-centric, failing to consider the tougher data privacy laws of the European Union.

Mozilla Corp.'s CEO expressed interest in joining last week.

But many holdouts remain. MySpace, which is the largest social networking site, is the most prominent. Others that have not joined include IBM, which operates the SameTime IM/unified communications platform, authentication provider VeriSign Inc., and enterprise software vendors Oracle Inc. and SAP AG.


WEB 2.0: Google CEO: Take your data and run

Google wants to make the information it stores for its users easily portable so they can export it to a competing service if they are dissatisfied, the company's CEO said Tuesday.

Making it simple for users to walk away from a Google service with which they are unhappy keeps the company honest and on its toes, and Google competitors should embrace this data portability principle, Eric Schmidt said at the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco.

If you look at the historical large company behavior, they ultimately do things to protect their business practices or monopoly or what have you, against the choice of the users," he said. "The more we can, for example, let users move their data around, never trap the data of an end user, let them move it if they don't like us, the better."

Schmidt, who answered questions from conference chair John Battelle and from audience members, also championed the hosted, software-as-service model, calling it superior to the packaged software model, a clear swipe at rival Microsoft

He has believed this for 20 years but only recently has PC and server technology and data center infrastructure become solid enough to make it feasible for people to access an application and its data remotely via the Internet, Schmidt said. "Finally now the architecture works," he said.

The hosted application model provides a more convenient experience for users because it is more robust and reliable and simpler to maintain. It also makes it easier for users to search for data across applications and share documents with each other, he said. Users also like that these applications are free, as opposed to the fee-based packaged software, he said.

This is why Google has entered this market with its word processing, calendaring, Web mail and spreadsheet hosted applications, Schmidt said. The company recently bought hosted wiki provider JotSpot.

However, he cautioned that Google's hosted applications aren't "an office suite" in the style of Microsoft's ubiquitous Office and that Google isn't trying to offer a replacement for the Microsoft suite. Google's hosted applications are intended to be an organic part of people's everyday lives, he said
Regarding Google's acquisition of YouTube, Schmidt said it is very likely Google will keep the video sharing site as a separate service, instead of merging it with the similar Google Video. The reason is that YouTube is very focused on the social networking and community aspect of video sharing, and Google wants it to retain that emphasis.

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Nanostructures created so much beautiful colour as on the wings of butterflies.

Nowhere in nature is there so much beautiful colour as on the wings of butterflies. Scientists, however, are still baffled about exactly how these colours are created. Marco Giraldo has been examining the structure of the surface of the wings of the cabbage white and other butterflies. Among the things he has discovered is why European cabbage whites are rebuffed more often than Japanese ones. Giraldo will be awarded a PhD by the University of Groningen on 25 January 2008.
The colours on butterfly wings are used as an advertisement. The patterns on the wings enable butterflies to recognize their own species at a distance and differentiate between males and females - rather handy when you're hunting for a partner. Just like a pointillist painting, the surface of the wing is constructed of a huge collection of coloured dots, called scales, each about 50 x 250 micrometers in size.

However, scientists don't yet know very much about how the colour on the wings is formed. What they do know is that the colours are created in two different ways: via pigments and via nanostructures on the scales, which ensure that light is distributed in ways that are sometimes spectacular. These so-called structure colours can clearly be seen on the morpho butterflies of the South American rainforests.

Cabbage white

Marco Giraldo examined the structure and the pigments of the wings of the cabbage white and other Whites from the Pieridae family. The physicist chose the Whites because they have relatively simple pigmentation. By comparing the scales of various sorts under an electron microscope, he discovered how the colouration of Whites is caused. Giraldo is the first to clarify how the colour of these butterflies is influenced by the nanostructural characteristics.

Scale structure

Although the spatial structure of a scale depends on the type of butterfly, there are a number of general characteristics: A scale consists of two layers, linked by pillars. The undersurface is virtually smooth and without structure, but the upper surface is formed by a large number of elongated, parallel ridges, about one to two micrometers from each other. The colour is determined by the dispersal of light by the scale structures and by the absorption of light by any pigments present. The pigments of the cabbage white, for example, absorb ultraviolet light and the brimstone blue light. At the same time they also scatter white or yellow light respectively.


Giraldo also discovered that the wings of Whites are constructed in a surprisingly effective way. Both sides of the wings have two layers of overlapping scales that reflect light. The more scales there are, the more light is reflected. This light reflection is very important as butterflies want to be seen. Giraldo discovered that these two layers form an optimal construction: with more than two layers the reflection may be improved, but the wing would become disproportionately heavy.

Japanese males

Giraldo has also discovered why Japanese male cabbage whites are better at recognizing females than European cabbage whites, who still make mistakes in this area. This is because the wings of Japanese male and female cabbage whites differ subtly, unlike those of their European relatives: the scales on the wings of Japanese female cabbage whites lack specific pigment grains, those that ensure that UV light is absorbed. Males do have these pigment grains, as do both sexes of the European cabbage whites. This difference makes it easier for Japanese male cabbage whites, who unlike humans can see UV light, to differentiate between males and females.

Colour industry

New colour methods can be developed using the knowledge derived from Giraldo's research. It may be possible to apply the nanostructures observed in butterflies to create impressive optic effects in paint, varnish, cosmetics, packaging materials and clothes. Industry is thus following butterfly wing research with great interest.



Nanostructure is an object of intermediate size between molecular and microscopic (micrometer-sized) structures.

In describing nanostructures we need to differentiate between the number of dimensions on the nanoscale. Nanotextured surfaces have one dimension on the nanoscale, i.e., only the thickness of the surface of an object is between 0.1 and 100 nm. Nanotubes have two dimensions on the nanoscale, i.e., the diameter of the tube is between 0.1 and 100 nm; its length could be much greater. Finally, spherical nanoparticles have three dimensions on the nanoscale, i.e., the particle is between 0.1 and 100 nm in each spatial dimension. The terms nanoparticles and ultrafine particles (UFP) often are used synonymously although UFP can reach into the micrometre range.

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MIT nutrition scientist celebrates a milestone

It's not every day that one of MIT's Institute Professors Emeritus--the elite of the faculty--celebrates a 90th birthday. But Nevin S. Scrimshaw, who founded MIT's Department of Nutrition and Food Science (now disbanded), reaches that milestone on Sunday, Jan. 20. At MIT he was also the first James R. Killian professor.

Dr. Scrimshaw, who holds a Ph.D. in physiology from Harvard, an M.D. from the University of Rochester and later an M.P.H. from Harvard, began teaching at MIT in 1961 and founded the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Course 20, at the time. He continued at MIT until his retirement in 1988. He remains very active in nutrition research, as well as advising and consulting for organizations around the world devoted to food and nutrition, including many that he helped to establish. He is president of the Boston-based International Nutrition Foundation.

"I'm pretty much as active professionally as ever," he says. He has ongoing research projects in Syria, Bangladesh and Ghana, among others, and last year ran workshops on nutrition and research management in India, Thailand, Ghana and Taiwan. He continues to publish research papers, including one last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and is doing follow-up studies on the effects of lysine supplements in lowering stress and reducing diarrhea in Ghana and in Bangladesh.

In 1991, he was awarded the World Food Prize in recognition of his tireless efforts and significant contributions to combating malnutrition in dozens of countries. Beginning in the 1950s, he did research on the causes of the protein-deficiency disease kwashiorkor, a deadly disease affecting children throughout the developing world. He came up with inexpensive, protein-rich nutritional supplements to combat the disease, in different formulas based on locally available produce, in many parts of the world, which remain in widespread use.

He has put his knowledge of nutrition to use to create a regime of diet and exercise that he credits with helping to sustain his own good health. "I had a wake-up call that I hadn't been getting either the diet or the exercise that I knew to be important," he says, when he ended up with a triple bypass operation 25 years ago. "I said this was not going to happen again," and besides a longstanding love of hiking and downhill skiing, he now has tri-weekly strength-training workouts and is careful about maintaining a nutritious diet and appropriate weight.

"The diets of people today are, by and large, not sufficiently varied: they're too calorically dense and portion sizes are too large," he says, which helps account for the epidemic of obesity and associated chronic diseases. Eating better doesn't require specialized knowledge, but it does require emphasizing vegetables and fruits along with seafood and poultry and minimizing red meat, fatty foods and high-calorie desserts, he says. "Common sense!"

He has written or edited more than 20 books and hundreds of papers on nutrition, food science and public health. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, he has received dozens of awards, including a gold medal as "Hero of Public Health" from president Vicente Fox of Mexico, and a knighthood from the king of Thailand.

Scrimshaw says that during his years at MIT, the Department of Nutrition and Food Science came to "serve as a model for other departments around the US and the world," and its graduates have become leaders of major international nutrition organizations and national institutes in many countries. "I'm grateful for the tremendous amount of support I received from MIT all those years," he says. "For me, it was a very happy and productive time."

Scrimshaw now lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with Mary, his wife of 67 years, and still enjoys skiing in the area, often in the company of some of his five children and eight grandchildren. He was out on the slopes four times in the past week, and plans to go out again on his birthday. One of his sons, also named Nevin, earned his Ph.D. in mathematics at MIT in 1985. And his daughter Susan C. Scrimshaw, also a renowned public health specialist (and a fellow recipient of Mexico's presidential gold medal), is the president of Simmons College in Boston. : , , ,
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Singapore's SMART Centre to be intellectual hub for global researchers

Dr. Tony Tan, Chairman of the National Research Foundation (NRF), announced Jan. 23 the official launch of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology Centre, or SMART Centre. The SMART Centre is the first entity in CREATE, which stands for Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise, a complex of research centres from Singapore, world-class research universities and corporate labs.

SMART is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) largest international research endeavor and the first research center of its kind located outside Cambridge, Mass. It will offer laboratories and computational facilities for research in several areas, including biomedical science, water resources and the environment, and possible additional research thrusts that encompass such topics as interactive digital media, energy, and scientific and engineering computation.

Besides serving as an intellectual hub for robust interactions between MIT and global researchers in Singapore, the SMART Centre will also provide MIT and Singapore new and unique opportunities to perform interdisciplinary experimental, computational and translational research that takes advantage of MIT's long-standing collaborations in Singapore. The Centre, initially headed by MIT Professor Thomas Magnanti, will be a magnet for attracting and anchoring research talent from Asia and all over the world.

To mark the close collaboration between NRF, MIT and the Ministry of Education (MOE), the MOE will be matching dollar-for-dollar donations and gifts to SMART for the establishment of Singapore Research Professorship Chairs at MIT. These chairs will be held by tenured MIT faculty and principal/senior researchers who are actively involved with research programs in the SMART Centre.

SMART will also create an Innovation Centre linked to the highly successful Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT. This Innovation Centre will identify and nurture innovative ideas from emerging technologies and accelerate their migration from laboratories to practical commercial applications that, in many cases, will occur through the creation of business enterprises with funding from external investors. The Innovation Centre activities will be seamlessly coordinated at MIT through the newly established International Innovation Initiative, or I3, that will provide a platform for establishing educational and research activities with strategic international partners by applying the best practices of MIT's Deshpande Center.

SMART will establish five interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs). The research themes will focus on problems that are of societal significance. The first two IRGs are already operational--one is Infectious Diseases, headed by MIT Professor Jianzhu Chen, and the other is a Center for Environmental Sensing and Modeling, or CENSAM, headed by MIT Professor Andrew Whittle. A third IRG is tentatively scheduled to launch in fall 2008.

The IRGs will be led by senior MIT faculty and researchers who will spend extended periods at SMART. MIT research scientists, postdoctoral students, and graduate and undergraduate students will be actively involved and also spend time in residence. The National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University, with other local research institutions, are partnering with MIT as local principal investigators in the research programs.

Dr. Tan said, "The launch of SMART Centre is a significant milestone in Singapore's research and innovation landscape. It not only seals Singapore's 10-year relationship with MIT through the Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA), it is also a meaningful tie-up with a renowned U.S. university, whose strong commitment to marry excellent teaching and research with innovation and entrepreneurship has spawned a host of scientific breakthroughs, technological advances and high-growth companies. Our universities must embrace a culture of academic entrepreneurship, like MIT, in order to play an active role in contributing to the economic development of Singapore."

MIT Provost L. Rafael Reif said, "MIT is enormously pleased to join with the National Research Foundation in establishing the SMART Centre. We are also both proud and honored that NRF has selected MIT to be the first of several entities to be co-located at CREATE. This groundbreaking collaboration for NRF and MIT provides an excellent opportunity for MIT to engage in research with Singapore and global researchers based here, and reflects our joint commitment to addressing critical issues and developing innovative and creative ways to solve them. We hope the research conducted at the SMART Centre will transform the development of engineering, technology and science in the decades ahead." : , , ,
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MIT Energy Initiative announces first seed grant winners for energy research


More than $1.6 million to fund projects

From harnessing microbes to developing new materials, from curbing pollution to harvesting wasted watts, a wide variety of MIT research projects in solar technology, climate change impacts and power transmission were among those chosen to receive more than $1.6 million in the MIT Energy Initiative's (MITEI) first round of campus seed grants.

The grants, which range from $30,000 to $150,000 and last anywhere from one semester to two years, are intended to help launch new or early stage projects that, it is hoped, will then produce enough results to be able to secure outside funding for further development. In all, 11 projects were selected to receive major grants totaling some $1.4 million, while six other projects proposed by junior faculty members were chosen for shorter-term grants.

MITEI selected the winners from 54 proposals submitted by members of all of MIT's departments, and multidisciplinary projects were especially encouraged. MITEI Director Ernest Moniz said he and his colleagues were pleased at the "overwhelming response" after expecting fewer than 20 proposals.

"The results of our call for proposals were so impressive, we were able to almost double the funding," Moniz said, by getting additional money from the Chesonis Foundation, MITEI's own funding, the MIT-Singapore programs, the deans of science and engineering, and private donors.

Among the novel projects selected is one aimed at doing basic research that could lead to a whole new approach to the production of biofuels. Sallie "Penny" Chisholm, professor of environmental studies, will conduct a study of Prochlorococcus, the smallest and the most abundant creature capable of photosynthesis. The hope is that this ubiquitous marine microbe could someday be used as a way of harnessing the power of sunlight to grow biofuels on an industrial scale.

Another solar-energy project, headed by Tonio Buonassisi, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and Gerbrand Ceder, professor of materials science and engineering, will explore novel materials for making solar cells, focusing on materials that are abundant and could be easily scaled up to widespread production and that could produce low-cost, extremely efficient photovoltaic panels.

One team, pairing two economists and an engineer, will study the health effects of energy use in India--which largely consists of the very smoky indoor combustion of wood and cow dung--and will explore alternatives that could mitigate these effects. Others will look at various approaches to curbing global warming: harnessing collective intelligence to develop solutions, using the model of massive, open collaborative projects like Wikipedia and Linux; using microbially produced enzymes to control pollutants and greenhouse gases--and maybe produce fuel in the process; and investigating how microbial life will respond if carbon sequestration becomes a major tool for limiting carbon emissions.

Some of the grants will be used to study materials and technologies that could improve electric power systems. These include superconducting transmission systems and using nanotubes to produce improved ultracapacitors for energy storage. Another project, colorfully titled "No Watt Left Behind," will develop new technology for minimizing waste in the use of electricity, for example by using fluorescent lamps to detect the presence of people and adjust lighting accordingly.

In addition to the major seed grants, junior faculty were awarded smaller Ignition grants, which are "a way to kick-start new research for them in the energy area," said Robert Armstrong, deputy director of MITEI. Those grants included projects aimed at designing more energy-efficient buildings, new thermoelectric materials for more efficient heating and cooling, and improving the longevity of advanced nuclear power plants.

"We had outstanding submissions both in terms of the innovative ideas, and in terms of the variety of faculty who applied," Armstrong said. "This has helped us identify new ideas and new people to involve in MITEI as well as valuable collaborations we can foster across campus."

New grants will be awarded twice each year, and over the course of the next five years the program will cover the whole spectrum of energy-related research, including environmental research related to energy production, delivery and use, and research that involves not only technology but also science, policy and systems design issues. : , , ,
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Team IDs weakness in anthrax bacteria

MIT and New York University researchers have identified a weakness in the defenses of the anthrax bacterium that could be exploited to produce new antibiotics.

The researchers found that nitric oxide (NO) is a critical part of Bacillus anthracis's defense against the immune response launched by cells infected with the bacterium. Anthrax bacteria that cannot produce NO succumb to the immune system's attack.

Stephen Lippard, the Arthur Amos Noyes Professor of Chemistry at MIT and an author of a paper on the work, said antibiotics developed to capitalize on this vulnerability could be effective against other bacteria that employ the same defense system. Those bacteria include Staphylococcus aureus, which commonly causes infections in hospitals and can be extremely drug-resistant.

The paper appeared in the Jan. 21 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Anthrax occurs naturally around the world and can infect all warm-blooded animals including humans. Treatment usually includes large doses of intravenous and oral antibiotics, but the disease can often be fatal--especially if treatment is not started right away.

In the human immune system, specialized cells called macrophages are the first line of defense against anthrax infection. Macrophages engulf the bacteria and bombard them with reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, which create chemical reactions toxic to the bacteria.

The research team found that NO produced by the bacteria pre-emptively defends against attack by reactive oxygen species produced by the macrophages soon after infection. Twelve hours later, when the macrophages release NO to join in the attack, it is too late--by then the bacteria have taken over and eventually destroy the macrophages.

When the gene for the enzyme that synthesizes NO is knocked out in the bacteria, they cannot defend against early attack by the macrophages, which can then survive the infection.

"With the aid of an intracellular probe developed in our laboratory, which fluoresces in the presence of NO, our collaborators Evgeny Nudler and his group discovered a completely new target for the next generation of antibiotics," said Lippard.

With this knowledge in hand, the researchers are now using the fluorescent probe to screen libraries of chemicals for compounds that could potentially interfere with the bacterium's ability to synthesize NO, said Lippard. Such compounds could eventually be developed into new antibiotics.

Lead author of the paper is Konstantin Shatalin of the New York University School of Medicine. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. : ,
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Yahoo! shake-up


Yahoo! shake-up: Hundreds to get axed
Reports indicate this may be Internet icon's biggest layoffs since 2001

Battered by slow revenue growth and the popularity of social networking Web sites, Yahoo! Inc. is poised to lay off hundreds of workers, according to published reports.

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have both reported on the slumping Internet icon's cost-cutting plans, citing people familiar with the matter.

Precisely how many of Yahoo's roughly 14,000 employees will lose their jobs hasn't been determined, the newspapers said. A final decision could be announced Jan. 29 when Yahoo executives are scheduled to review the Sunnyvale-based company's fourth-quarter results.

If several hundred employees are dumped, it will mark Yahoo's most extensive layoffs since 2001 when the company was trying to battle back from the dot-com bust.

The payroll purge was first reported over the weekend by Silicon Alley Insider, a blog focused on investments in technology and media. The blog said Yahoo had drawn up a list of 1,500 to 2,500 jobs that could be eliminated, but Monday's reports indicated management doesn't expect the cuts to be that deep.

A Yahoo spokeswoman didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.

It won't come as a surprise if Yahoo jettisons workers, said Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry. He believes Yahoo has room to trim its work force by about 5 percent, or 700 employees, after phasing out some of its services, such as auctions and photos, during the past year.

Besides falling further behind Silicon Valley rival Google Inc. in the lucrative Internet search and advertising market, Yahoo also has been struggling to hold on to younger Web surfers as they spend more time on hip online hangouts like and

The problems have slowed Yahoo's revenue growth even as spending on online ads accelerates. That trend has devastated Yahoo's stock, which has plunged by nearly 50 percent since the end of 2005. Yahoo shares finished last week at $20.78.

With shareholders clamoring for a shake-up, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang took over as the company's chief executive last June, replacing former movie studio mogul Terry Semel.

Yang has promised to re-establish Yahoo's position as the Web's most popular "starting point" while building a compelling ad network, but his progress hasn't impressed investors so far. Since Yang became CEO, Yahoo's stock price has declined by 25 percent while Google shares have surged by more than 15 percent.

Earlier this month, Yahoo opened its mobile platform so outside programmers can develop new applications for Yahoo pages accessed on mobile handsets. Yahoo hopes the mini-applications will bring the company more money from advertising.

The company also unveiled a redesigned home page for mobile phones that includes more content and enables visitors to designate material they want highlighted.


Yahoo! sets eyes on becoming the indispensable starting point for consumers' Web experience

LAS VEGAS - The web has certainly come a long way since Jerry Yang and David Filo, two Stanford University students started Yahoo! to catalog their favorite World Wide Web sites.

Yet to this day, the duo has never lost sight of the ball and has remained true to the original goal of the company - that is to make the web and the Internet simple and easy to use.

Thirteen years later, and with a more complex Internet, Yahoo! now is, more than ever, striving hard to be relevant to the more than 500 million of its users worldwide by offering a more rich, personal and relevant Internet experience to its more than 500 million users worldwide.

During his Industry Insider presentation at CES 2008 held at the Hilton Theater here, Jerry Yang, the 39-year-old CEO and chief Yahoo! outlined his vision to evolve the company ahead of the curve and become the indispensable starting point for Web experience of today's consumers by taking the complexity of the Web and simplifying the experience through very powerful technologies.

"I am thrilled," Yang said, "to be at the reigns for the next wave of what's going on, on the Internet. Along with my co-founder David Filo and some very extremely talented Yahoos around the world, we're ready and excited about what the next phase of the Internet has to offer. I think it's time to get Yahoo yodeling again."

From the newest to the most experienced users out there, Yahoo's purpose is to let users figure out what their online experience should be and then experiencing that to its fullest, Yang said. "We're calling this life with an exclamation point. So however you spend your days, whatever device you're using, whatever you want to learn, when you want to earn, socialize, search, share, or entertain yourself, our goal is to help you make the most of your busy life by being what we've always been, the best starting point for the entire web experience," explains Yang.

He said that as the web became deeper and richer, becoming a more integral part of all our lives - a communications medium, a commerce, productivity, and entertainment medium, the goal remains the same: To be the simple starting point going for a much richer and more complex world, so one can get more out of the Internet.

To illustrate an example, he cited the case of multiple social networks where a lot of users read more blogs, tapping into more sources, juggling non-stop connections - connectivity, activities, people. "And how do we really make all these deep meaningful relationships that we've built and experiences that we've built on the Internet - how do we make that really simple for people to use?," Yang asks.

Today, the Yahoo! CEO said, Yahoo is already the homepage for hundreds of millions of individuals, people who take charge and personalize their web experience with My Yahoo, connect with people who are caring about using - connecting people who they care about using Yahoo Mail. And find things that they need with Yahoo Search.

Yang said that as the world become open, more social and everyone becomes mobile, people are looking for ways to bring all these capabilities together, making them personally relevant.

Industry analysts project that an estimated four billion mobile phone users worldwide by 2010 and key to this Yahoo! goal was the announcement of the launch of the all-new Yahoo! Go 3.0, Yahoo!'s flagship all-in-one mobile offering, initially in beta version at this year's CES.

The new product further solidifies Yahoo!'s leadership position in delivering leading-edge mobile experiences to consumers worldwide by delivering more of what consumers want, wherever however and whenever they want it.

Marco Boerries, executive vice president, Connected Life, Yahoo! said the launch of Yahoo! Go 3.0 is a game-changing mobile development from Yahoo!.

"This new open environment provides consumers with a highly-compelling user experience and robust, personalized starting point to the mobile Internet. Through this, we are providing users with increased control over their experiences as well as increased choice in getting the content and services they want while on the go. With our innovative mobile services like Yahoo! Go 3.0 and deep partnerships across the industry, we are focused on making the promise of the mobile Internet a reality for consumers around the world," Boerries said.

Yahoo! Go 3.0 takes mobile services to the next level with an upgraded and feature-rich user interface, a truly personalized start page and customizable access to consumers' favorite Internet brands and services through easy-to-use third-party widgets. It offers an intuitive and rich design that makes efficient use of the phone's small screen and speeds consumers' ability to find the information they need on the mobile Internet, enabling consumers to easily navigate Yahoo! Go 3.0 through a choice of two views - either the traditional carousel or the new icon layout.

Moreover, the new Home widget for Yahoo! Go 3.0 offers an innovative gateway for consumers to get where they're going on the mobile Internet. It features an at-a-glance update of what's new since the last visit; such as how many new e-mails have arrived, upcoming calendar appointments, and new photos posted to Flickr by friends. The Home widget also includes a customizable collection of mobile snippets - previews of the user's favorite Web content - news headlines, weather conditions and more - to keep users updated while on the go. It also allows the user to get quickly where they want to go on the mobile Internet via Yahoo! oneSearch.

Yahoo! Go 3.0 is expected to be available on hundreds of devices worldwide, accessible by hundreds of millions of users. :
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