Yahoo!, Facebook Collaboration Social Bar Now Available For Southeast Asia and India

Yahoo! realizes the market potential of Facebook’s huge presence in Indonesia, with more than 43 million users or nearly 90% of its total Internet population (which surpasses Yahoo!’s own user-base of 70% of Indonesian internet users). Locally known as Beranda Sosial, the service integrates content from Facebook so that users can easily see updates from contacts.

One of the Social Bar's User Interfaces

The new feature launched this February 1st, and lets users easily see what their friends are currently reading, and vice versa. Other users’ activities will also appear on their Facebook profile on real-time basis. For privacy ,these items can be easily activated, inactivated and deleted.

Social Bar Integration

Social Bar launched earlier in the U.S., and by now, 22 million Yahoo! users in 85 Yahoo! global sites enjoy the feature. The service has now launched in Southeast Asia plus India. In Indonesia, it integrates with three Yahoo Indonesia’s sites: Yahoo! News, Yahoo! OMG! and Yahoo! She.

Since its launch on December last year, traffic from Facebook has increased more than 200%, contributed mostly by the younger demographic (18 to 24 years old). Both Yahoo! and Facebook are top websites in the Southeast Asian region, with PhilippinesVietnam and Indonesia comprising a big user-base.

This year the Yahoo! Net Index, states that social networks rank as the #1 online activity in Indonesia, with 89% popularity, followed by internet portal browsing at 72%. News reading is at #3 spot with 61%.

“Yahoo! always offers the most interesting content resulted from combination of its local editors, sophisticated technologies and now your friends,” says Blake Irving, Yahoo! Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer. The survey, now on its third year, has a total of 1,500 respondents living in 22 major cities in several countries. The Southeast Asia study was released to provide consumer insights for advertisers targeting the emerging markets.

Isaac Souweine, Head of Product Marketing for Mobile, Communications and Communities Yahoo! in Southeast Asia says “Indonesians have shown a high demand on social network that easily shares content with other users.” He adds “[t]his Social Bar has the capability to integrate itself directly when those users want to share what they are doing.”

With only 8% of Indonesia’s total population accessing Internet through mobile phones, the opportunity is still wide open.

In the future, the Social Bar will be integrated into remaining Yahoo! Products and Services both for Indonesia and other countries across the globe including other Asia Pacific countries.

Google Makes a Move

On the other hand, search engine giant Google continues to assert its presence In Southeast Asia. They have opened a new office in Bangkok, Thailand after setting up shop in Kuala Lumpur in 2011. Around 100 employees have been hired in Southeast Asia alone, and 400 more got onboard in the company’s Asia Pacific offices last year. The latest plan is to open an office in Indonesia this year, according to Chairman Eric Schmidt when he met the vice president last July.

With the increasing Internet and mobile penetration in Southeast Asia’s largest economy in particular and Asia Pacific in general, together with the use of its search engine, Google will have to walk the extra mile to dominate the region. The Social Bar collaboration with other social networking giants is one of the proactive corporate actions that Yahoo! can do to meet the competition head-on.