Yahoo! has bought del.icio.us, the social bookmarking site.
What is del.icio.us? Users sign up and save bookmarks to a centralised server. These are sorted by tags, so that not only can you see every site you’ve ever saved using the keyword “Noam Chomsky”, but you can see every site everyone has saved.
Why should I care? If you’re interested in social networks, you should care because Yahoo hsa bought most of the big individual sites. Flickr and Upcoming are both under the Yahoo banner, for example. It’s actually becoming a known (if not respected) business model for startups to follow: build a social networking site, get bought by Yahoo.
The common theme in all of this is tagging. On the Elgg system, you can click on a tag and see all the resources associated with it: people, files, weblog posts. You can bet there’s something similar about to come out of Yahoo, and if they’re smart they’ll standardise the way these things interact. Anyone will be able to pull out all kinds of information from their servers using web services, and hopefully plug it back in again.
What’s really cunning about this is that it’s simply a refinement of Yahoo’s original strategy. When they first came on the scene, it was with teams of editors, who would categorise everything themselves. Now the editors are the users; Yahoo is the same index, but decentralised and open to everyone. Almost certainly they’re going to try and provide unified, indexed access to all these folksonomies. It’s smart – and very good for anyone interested in knowledge based on reputation.