Yahoo gets more social with new homepage

Steven Loeb · February 20, 2013 · Short URL:

New homepage includes Facebook integration, more personalized newsfeed

If you're anything like me, then one of the first things you do when turning on your computer is head straight over to Yahoo to see if anything important happened during the few hours of sleep you just got. While Yahoo News can sometimes be pretty ridiculous (I don't know how many articles they actually need to write about when its the right time to end your relationship) it is usually pretty good for getting the big news.

So imagine my surprise when I opened Yahoo this morning... only to find a totally redesigned homepage, complete with a new layout. Needless to say it's always a little jarring when a page you see every day looks different... especially at 5 am! But the new homepage does have some very interesting new features, including moe social features and a more personalized, infinite newsfeed.

The new homepage, which is being rolled out over the new few days, is "designed to be more intuitive and personal," Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer wrote in a blogpost Wednesday. It's "all about your interests and preferences."

"Since streams of information have become the paradigm of choice on the web, we’re introducing a newsfeed with infinite scroll, letting you experience a virtually endless feed of news articles. Whether you are a sports fanatic or entertainment buff, you can easily customize your newsfeed to your interests," she said.

Yahoo is also making the homepage a more social experience by allowing users to log in to Facebook in order to see articles that have been shared by friends on the social network, as well as birthday reminders.

"Because you come to Yahoo! everyday for must-know information, we’ve also introduced newly designed applications. From your local weather forecast to Facebook friends’ birthdays, you’ll always have the information you need," Mayer wrote. "We’ve also refreshed some of what you love most -- including our Yahoo! editorial features, and the daily snapshot into popular trending web searches."

Back in November, it was reported that Facebook and Yahoo were going to partner up for some type of deal that would involve Facebook benefiting from Yahoo's experience with search. At the time, the two sides denied that they were partnering for search (and Facebook subsequently launched its own search engine a few months later) but there was no denial that some type of deal was being brokered, reportedly by Mayer and Facebook CFO Sheryl Sandberg. Perhaps Facebook's integration into the new Yahoo Homepage were part of those negotiations. 

The new Yahoo Homepage is also being optimized for smartphone and tablets, as Yahoo has made it clear that mobile is a big part of its strategy going forward.

In October, Mayer said that, while Yahoo had “made progress” on the mobile front, the company was behind because it had no effectively optimized the site for mobile, had under invested in mobile development, and had splintered the brand into 76 applications across Android and iOS.

“All of this needs to change. Our top priority is a focused, coherent mobile strategy," she said.

So far, Yahoo has been making good on this promise to focus on its mobile strategy.

In December, Yahoo updated its Flickr app with high resolution filters that users can apply after they have taken the photo/ Additionally, the new Flickr app lets them share the photos on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and email. They can also upload multiple photos from their camera roll to the Flickr site and tag people and add locations from Foursquare.

Earlier this month, Yahoo purchased location discovery app Alike to compete with Facebook's Find Nearby feature, and Google's Google+Local.

Mayer called the new hompage "a new beginning," and promised that the company will "continue to make changes and improvements" over the coming months.

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alike enables you to use the places you like to find new places you’ll love.

Keywords suck.  First, they are too simplistic.  When you search for a coffee shop a keyword based engine won’t know if you wanted the best java in town or a nearby place to crank out some emails.  Second, they are too vague.  Google returns 12,938 results for coffee shops in San Francisco.  And finally, they are generic – with rankings based on popularity/SEO rather than relevance. None of the current options let you organize results to find what you really want.

The alike engine takes search beyond the keyword to solve this problem.  Using alike anyone can simply enter the name of something they enjoy, alike will identify this ‘entity’, and then alike will provide the user with similar ‘entities’ that they will love.

The alike search engine has developed a semantic understanding of many different entities (places, products, people) and their attributes (locations, cost, reviews, preferences).   



Marissa Mayer

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