Yahoo! has started to implement new features designed to make itself more ‘sociable’ — that is, to help it compete with popular social networking destimations such as MySpace and Facebook for the attentions of a larger share of compulsive Net users.

Among the new features, the ability for Yahoo!’s approximately 275 million e-mail users to form closer online ties with their Internet friends, a photo search tool (to quickly find images anywhere in your Yahoo! mailbox) and a tool to simplify transfering information from your Yahoo! mailbox to your blog.

In addition, Yahoo! is opening up its technology platform to outside developers whom the company hopes will provide even more applications for its users — along the lines of the Google initiative that has already seen hundreds of new plug-ins developed for its Gmail platform.

“We hope opening up Yahoo! mail will have a game-changing influence on the industry,” Yahoo! Vice-Presicent John Kremer told reporters.

The financially-troubled Yahoo! is also planning to eliminate some of its less-populart online services, part of an attempt to save some (US)$400 million in costs next year.

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