Yahoo seems more like former Googler Marissa Meyer all the time. The ambitious Yahoo CEO just revealed a new home page for Yahoo.com that offers a more modern look and feel than generations past.
Why so much focus on a rebrand in a Google-dominated industry? Yahoo isn't actually too far behind Google. According to comScore, Yahoo posted 184.9 million visitors to its sites in December, just behind Google at 191.4 million. Microsoft and Facebook tied for third and fourth. Mayer smells opportunity.
"We wanted it to be familiar but also wanted it to embrace some of the modern paradigms of the Web," Mayer said on NBC's Today show Wednesday. "One thing that I really like is this very personalized newsfeed, it's infinite and you can go on scrolling forever."
Building on Yahoo's Roots
Mayer ventured back to the company's roots during a rundown of the new design in a blog post. Yahoo first began as Jerry and Dave's Guide to the World Wide Web, a directory of links create to help organize the Internet during its early days. That turned into what we see today.
"Designed to be more intuitive and personal, the new Yahoo experience is all about your interests and preferences," Mayer wrote. "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."
Mayer also pointed to newly designed apps, including Yahoo editorial features, and the daily snapshot of popular trending Web searches. Users can also log in with their Yahoo or Facebook ID to share articles with friends. Yahoo taps Facebook Connect to import user data , such as likes and preferences.
"One of the things that people really want to do is share their interests with their friends," she said at an investor conference hosted by Goldman Sachs last week in San Francisco. "We need to have sharing built as a fundamental component."
Faster, More Personal
Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, said that while he would imagine a homepage makeover has been a priority for some time, what we see today definitely is the work of Mayer.
"Many of the changes are minor and people may not immediately notice. However the improved speed, the personalization and the better performance on mobile devices will benefit Yahoo with more engagement," Sterling told us. "This is not going to have a radical impact on Yahoo but it's part of a steady stream of improvements and upgrades that Mayer seems to be implementing."
Mayer told listeners at the Goldman Sachs event that she thinks there should be multiple updates each year to any core page or application in the Yahoo family.
"While this is the first of these updates in 2013, there will be more to come," she said.
The updates are rolling out over the next few days.