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Yahoo Adds Social Network Integration

Yahoo Inc is working to rewire the dozens of services across its site so that users can manage all information about themselves in a single place and share it with friends across the Web.

“We are not building another social network,” Chief Technology Officer Ari Balogh told attendees at the Web 2.0 Expo conference in San Francisco on Thursday. “We are building social into everything we do.”

The effort is part of a larger plan to make it easier for users to share information about themselves with other Yahoo users and on websites that run applications using Yahoo features, seeking to help the world’s biggest Internet media company keep pace with social networks like Facebook and MySpace.

Yahoo is spelling out this evolving strategy in the face of Microsoft Corp’s looming, $44 billion unsolicited takeover offer.

Microsoft has set a deadline of Saturday for Yahoo to agree to a deal on those terms or face a hostile takeover campaign. The software giant said on Thursday it will announce whether it plans to proceed with a deal or pull out next week.

Unified user profiles and the effort to make it easier for users to share information with their friends is part of the company’s broader “Yahoo Open Strategy” due out later this year, Balogh said. The plan would give users simple privacy controls to decide what data they reveal about themselves.

“We are going to unify all profiles throughout Yahoo,” said Balogh, whose appointment as Yahoo’s CTO was announced on January 29, a day before Microsoft first proposed its $31 per share cash and stock offer to merge with Yahoo.