Yahoo's Semel launches Go service

Yahoo CEO Terry Semel launched a new service at CES for connecting consumers to Yahoo services through any device.

With some help from Hollywood stars Ellen DeGeneres and Tom Cruise, Yahoo Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Terry Semel launched a new service Friday that connects users to all of their Yahoo Internet-based services through multiple devices.

The service, comprised of the Yahoo Go Desktop, Yahoo Go Mobile and Yahoo Go TV interfaces, will serve up all of a user's Yahoo content, such as photos, e-mail and address books, no matter what device a consumer is using as long as it is connected to the Internet, Semel said during his keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The three interfaces are designed for the screen of the device, and Yahoo Go automatically knows which device is being used to access the service and will bring up the appropriate interface, he said.

Semel noted early in his talk that while some thought it was odd that Yahoo, an Internet services company, had won a coveted keynote spot at the biggest trade show for consumer electronics manufacturers, the company is a natural fit for these kinds of companies. Yahoo's services can bring the experience of Internet-based media and services to a plethora of devices that manufacturers are building, he said.

"We think the Internet is not a Web page or desktop, [but] an infrastructure and delivery vehicle for communication, experiences, entertainment and any kind of data you use on the Internet," he said. "The next generation is about ease of use and open platforms that connect the Internet to any device that you all will be manufacturing. Yahoo is in the perfect position to be a great partner to all of you who are working on devices in the future."

To that end, Semel unveiled several new partnerships with mobile phone manufacturers and service providers to help deliver Yahoo Go to consumers. Both Nokia and Motorola are making Yahoo Go available on some of their mobile phones, with the popular Motorola RAZR phone to have the service soon, Semel said. Cingular Wireless also will deliver the service on its mobile devices.

Semel, a former movie studio executive, also brought along major Hollywood star power to help promote Yahoo Go. Both U.S. television star DeGeneres and international movie star Cruise appeared with him during the keynote.

DeGeneres performed a brief comedy routine about all of the things that annoyed her about the proliferation of digital devices in her life. Cruise was on hand to introduce the trailer for his upcoming movie, "Mission: Impossible III," which played through Yahoo Go TV on a television screen on stage.

Yahoo Go will help solve some of the problems DeGeneres remarked on, according to Dan Rosensweig, Yahoo chief operating officer, during a demonstration of the service later in the keynote. One problem the comedienne noted in her routine was that if she lost her mobile phone, she would also lose all of her contact information for friends because she has lost the ability to memorize phone numbers.

"If we lose our phones, we lose our phone books," DeGeneres said. "You don't memorize numbers anymore."

With Yahoo Go, this problem is solved, Rosensweig said during the Yahoo Go demo. Because all of a Yahoo Go user's information is stored on the Internet through the Yahoo network, even if DeGeneres lost her cell phone, she could still access her contacts from another device that can connect to the service, he said.

Rosensweig also observed that many users of camera cell phones have no idea how to remove their photos from the device, a problem that Yahoo Go Mobile solves, letting users upload photos automatically from the device to a Yahoo Photos Web page .

Yahoo Go is available now at http://go.yahoo.com

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Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
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