June 1, 2009
Just recently, Yahoo! launched a “Placemaker Service.” This is basically a simple web-based service that has the ability to geo-locate any type of un-structured information like plain text. According to Yahoo!, the Placemaker Service is more of a “geo-enrichment” rather than the more advanced geo-coding. Using this service, you can get results including the location like 53rd County Street as well as the location type like the country or city.
The Yahoo! Placemaker will provide web developers with a platform and a functionality with the help of which they can geo-enrich all their content including that of blog posts, web pages, RSS feeds, status updates, news articles, and various applications that use similar information. The Placemaker is basically an open API and it will now help developers across the world to make aware different types of applications as well as location of data sets.
This web service was released at Where2.0 and will enable the accessibility of GeoPlanet Data to the public with the help of a Creative Commons License. The Placemaker’s geo-enrichment services are being seen as a competition to Google’s Geo-location API. According to the description provided by Yahoo! regarding the Placemaker, “This service will handle any free-from text and “identify places mentioned within the text, disambiguate those places, and return unique identifiers (WOEIDs) for each, as well as information about how many times the place was found within the text, and where in the text it was found. It will provide the geographic developer community with the means to mark-up and index their content geographically in a globally-aware, locally-relevant, and language-neutral manner, and assist with geographic discovery and aggregation across the Internet.”
The Yahoo 360
At the same time, Yahoo will be closing the Yahoo 360 service officially on July 13, 2009 according to their internal blog. According to Yahoo! Blog: “Over the past two years there has been a lot of discussion about the closure of Yahoo! 360° and the transition to our new profiles experience that we’ve had in the works. Today, we’re able to firmly say that on July 13, 2009 Yahoo! 360° will be closing down and you’ll be asked to move into your new profile on Yahoo! by July 12, 2009.”
The Yahoo 360° service was actually launched as a social networking and blogging service in March 2005. But over the years it has not gained popularity as was expected. Several experts and analysts believe that the failure of Yahoo 360 lies entirely with the fact that they were unable to cash on the rising popularity of blogging and social networking over the Internet.
The Yahoo 360° service will follow the footsteps of Yahoo Mash, the social networking site that was shut down in September 2008. In order to keep Yahoo! social networking alive, the group launched Yahoo Profiles with some of the basic social networking functionalities. But the truth is that with the closing down of the Yahoo 360° service, Yahoo! will not have any strong social networking services for the global audience.