Yahoo Releases Content and TV Apps for iPad

Barry Levine, <a href='http://www.newsfactor.com'>newsfactor.com</a>
Newsfactor.com

Hoping to get a better foothold in the fast-moving mobile market, Yahoo has released new apps for the iPad. One, called Livestand, provides news and entertainment content, and another, IntoNow, is intended as a companion to watching TV.

Livestand, a digital newsstand app, shows Yahoo content from the company's news, finance and sports sites, in addition to content from other companies' magazines. By providing third-party magazines, Yahoo's app allows publishers to deliver their content without having to create an app. Livestand comes with interactive ads from such companies as Toyota.

Scientific American, Forbes

Other tablet-based publishing platforms, such as Flipboard and Google's coming Propeller, are also beginning to create a common framework so that publishers don't have to keep reinventing the wheel. Outside content for Livestand includes Scientific American, Forbes, Surfer, Parenting and ABC News. Ad and subscription revenue is being shared with publishing partners, but the deal arrangements were not made public. An Android version is expected early next year.

Livestand was originally discussed by the company in February, but the product had been delayed. The app adds an element of personalization to content reading, in that it shows the user content based on interaction and choices.

IntoNow, which Yahoo bought earlier this year, identifies a TV program by recognizing its soundtrack, recommends related content, and allows the user to communicate with others about the program. The app is integrated with Facebook, Twitter, iTunes and Netflix.

Social TV

IntoNow draws on an index of several years of U.S. television programming. When the acquisition was announced in April, Yahoo noted in a statement that IntoNow "is able to identify content down to the airing, episode and time within the program as well as provide program information and links associated with it, all within a matter of seconds."

The basic idea of IntoNow is a concept gaining traction at Facebook and elsewhere -- users remotely sharing a TV experience with others, thus expanding the TV watching experience.

The kind of TV watching promoted by IntoNow, which is being called social TV, appeals to networks, since it assumes friends will watch the same program aired at the same time, instead of recording it for watching later -- and skipping commercials.

Yahoo is hoping to recapture some of its initial cache, not to mention recover from the dismissal of Chief Executive Carol Bartz in September and stagnant revenue growth. The company is also unveiling some other products and services, including new social features for Yahoo News, such as small-group conversations.

Yahoo e-mail will now offer a new Notifications feature, which shows a small red bubble when friends have recommended some content on the Web. A new app for Android devices, Yahoo Weather, shows crowdsourced photos via Flickr as background for a given location, time, and weather.