Yahoo! ( YHOO) is not wasting any time kicking off the new year. And so far, investors like what they see. Shares of Yahoo! rallied 98 cents, or 3.6%, to $28.56 in afternoon trading on Wednesday. The stock is now up about 8% in 2007 -- and more than 10% in the last five trading sessions alone. Shares of rival Google ( GOOG) also have gained ground since the start of 2007, but have risen only 4%, or half as much, as Yahoo!'s. The Nasdaq has gained less than 1% over the same period. Yahoo!'s stock fell by about one-third in 2006, as the company struggled to maintain its competitive edge. But the latest gains follow a flurry of moves along strategically important dimensions for the Internet giant. On Wednesday, a deal with video-on-demand company Akimbo Systems that would allow Yahoo!'s video content to be delivered through the company's service was announced. Akimbo users will be able to select videos to watch on their televisions from a regularly refreshed selection of Yahoo!'s videos. The menu of content will feature both user-generated and professionally created clips. Yahoo! has long sought to feature its extensive library of videos more prominently. On Tuesday, Yahoo! said it acquired Mybloglog, a startup that allows blog users to create a social network by leaving information on sites they read for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition will help Yahoo! beef up its services in the burgeoning social media space, an area the company considers critical to its overall vision. Rumors of a Mybloglog acquisition first circulated in November when Yahoo! picked up Bix, another social media startup that can also help make Yahoo! users more active.
Earlier this week, Yahoo! unveiled its new Go service, which makes mobile search easier for users who download a piece of Yahoo!'s software to their phones. OneSearch, part of the Go service, provides answers to inquiries immediately instead of forcing users to navigate through different pages as they might on a computer. Video, social media, and mobile devices were pinpointed by Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel during the company's last conference call in November as areas where the company can play a leading role. Yahoo! will roll out its new, heavily followed Panama advertising platform in 2007 in a push to close the amount of money it makes per search as compared to Google. While Panama will be critical, areas like video, social media and mobile play to Yahoo!'s strength of having a massive user base and are seen as areas where the company can catapult ahead, instead of just playing catch-up.