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Yesterday, after apparent leaks to the press, Yahoo! decided to announce its rumored blogging/social networking service (to launch at the end of the month) — Yahoo! 360. According to AP reports, the service will offer multiple features and allow people to share content, photos, etc.

There are many such applications already (MySpace, Friendster, Orkut, Lycos Circles, LinkedIn and so on). Yahoo! Groups, in a sense, is already a significant "social networking" application. However, this would really open things up quite a bit.

From our point of view, it creates a couple of interesting opportunities — it will result in more user-generated content that could potentially be "repurposed" in other areas of Yahoo! (a la what AOL was potentially intending to do with AIM "content") and create new page views that could potentially be monetized contextually (a la Gmail).

Imagine friends sharing photos and discussion regarding a trip to Mexico or Europe (read: potential opportunity to serve contextually relevant ads). Alternatively, imagine friends sharing recommendations about pediatricians or house painters. That content might find its way into Yahoo! Local.

One of the problems with getting users to generate ratings/reviews about local businesses is that such reviews are "out of context." There's no community, just stand-alone ratings. If there's an actual community and other humans that you're writing for or making recommendations to, it's a very different matter.

Thanks to Tony Gentile for alerting me to the story.

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