Photo by A Hermida
Despite their rocky year, Yahoo still have a massive email user base, so I was very interested when they announced a new API for plugging in to their web client. I looked through the documentation, and unfortunately this release is pretty limited, though there's more to it than Gmail's latest interface. Google essentially just lets you embed normal iGoogle widgets into the mail side bar, there's no way to interact with the user's mail. Yahoo does let you trigger UI actions like bringing up a search window, populating an add event popup or composing a message, but there's no way to access any data on the messages, or perform any modifications without user involvement.
I'm sure these are all precautions to protect users from malicious plugins reading private data, as is keeping it in a limited beta restricted to a small group of developers. While I'm disappointed I won't get the chance to do all the interesting data analysis I'd like to offer, this is a step in the right direction. I expect that seeing the demand for the applications you can build even with this limited functionality will push the industry towards more open interfaces. Then I can really have some fun!