November 30, 2006 2:52 PM PST

Yahoo brings party planning to your cell phone

Yahoo has delved into the growing world of mobile social networking with "Mixd," a newly introduced service geared at new-media-savvy youths.

But Mixd, launched Thursday, isn't really social networking in the traditional sense. You aren't creating a profile a la MySpace.com and striving to build a bigger and better-looking friends list. Rather, it's like cattle herding for the partygoer sector: you use Yahoo's service to organize a group of your friends for a "Mixer" (a party or night out), coordinating it all through text and picture messages.

Mixd is geared toward sociable young people who are already avid text messengers, said Scott Gatz of Yahoo's Advanced Products Group. "The mobile phone is like a piece of their body," he said. "It's inseparable from them."

But traditional text-messaging, has its limitations. "It's great for point-to-point, one person to one person, but there's no concept of 'reply all,'" Gatz added. Mixd aims to ease the organization of parties, bar outings, study groups, football game excursions, and the like.

Once a "Mixer" is formed, members of the group--who do not need to have Yahoo accounts--can message each other in both text and picture formats, and a log of the entire Mixer is posted at a corresponding Web page.

"At its most basic, it's a mobile-messaging and media-sharing application for events-based groups," Gatz said. He underscored that there is no charge outside of carriers' regular text messaging packages, and additionally, participants do not need a mobile Web plan or a cell phone camera (though the latter is preferable).

Mobile social networking, until this point, has largely been associated with youth-oriented carriers like Helio and Boost. And along with mobile music, mobile podcasting, and other forms of cellular-borne media, it's still a fledgling phenomenon.

Gatz readily admitted that Mixd is still an experiment for Yahoo, as are many of the endeavors undertaken by the Advanced Products Group. We're "trying out new technology, new services, new things--all with the goal of learning and continuing to innovate. Some of those ideas go far. Mixd is just one of those types of ideas."

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Yahoo! Inc., Helio, social networking, text messaging, networking

 

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