paidContent - Yahoo Announces Xoopit Purchase; New Photo Features Coming To Yahoo Mail

This story was written by Joseph Tartakoff.
With Xoopit, the social e-mail startup that Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) confirmed it had purchased this evening, Yahoo plans to add new photo sharing features to Yahoo Mail. In a post on the Yahoo Anecdotal blog, Yahoo SVP Bryan Lamkin said that by integrating Xoopit’s technology with Yahoo Mail, users would be able to centrally organize all the photos they had ever sent or received and then easily share them with others. “While social networks and community sites are great for sharing photos with everyone you know, we realize its not for everyone or every occasion,” Lamkin writes. “For many, email is still best for sharing photos among a more select group of friends or family.” No word on whether similar Xoopit features for sharing videos and files will also be coming to Yahoo Mail. We’ve asked and will update if we hear back.

New Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz said during the company’s earnings call earlier this week that the company was “doubling down” on Yahoo Mail and would add social features to the product. The distinction between e-mail and social is becoming increasingly less clear-cut, with Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) introducing social networking-like features to its Windows Live services, including Hotmail, last year, and MySpace set to roll out its own e-mail service Thursday. And, of course, most social networks already give users an easy way to send messages to each other in addition to sharing other content.

Yahoo Mail continues to grow in terms of unique visitors, according to comScore, but Google’s Gmail is catching up both in the United States and abroad.

Yahoo did not disclose how much it had paid for Xoopit, although earlier reports said that Yahoo was buying the startup for $20 million. Xoopit raised $5 million in a first round last year.

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By Joseph Tartakoff