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Digital Life

SNL Stars Help Yahoo CEO Launch News Digest

SNL Stars Help Yahoo CEO Launch News Digest
January 8, 2014 12:24PM

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At CES 2014, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was joined by a star-studded cast who helped take the wraps off Yahoo Tech and Yahoo News Digest. Both of these products from Yahoo will be based around news. The News Digest app will take advantage of Yahoo's acquisition of news app Summly, as it will provide news updates twice each day.

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Following a series of unfortunate Web-based issues with its e-mail and other services, Yahoo made a strong debut at this year's 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. With a little help from her friends, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer used the event to unveil new products including the News Digest app and services -- many of them in the entertainment industry.

At the event, Mayer also noted that mobile usage of its services has risen over the years and reached an all-time high of 400 million monthly mobile users per month during late 2013. This is a major achievement for Yahoo but according to Mayer, the company will continue to push into mobile during 2014 in an even more significant way than it did last year.

Entertainment Services

Mayer went onstage at CES alongside Saturday Night Live (SNL) cast members, Katie Couric, and former New York Times tech columnist David Pogue. The well-known actors and media personalities joined Mayer in announcing a variety of new entertainment and news-centered services that Yahoo will begin to roll out this year.

With the help of Pogue and SNL stars, Mayer unveiled Yahoo Tech and Yahoo News Digest. Both of these products will be based around news, and the News Digest app will take advantage of Yahoo's acquisition of news app Summly, as it will provide news updates twice each day. These updates will provide a summary and overview of the day's biggest stories, in case people do not have enough time to read longer articles about each topic.

Yahoo Tech, one of two new "digital magazines" that was unveiled during the event will provide tech news and information on a regular basis. The other magazine that Yahoo is focusing on will be based around food, although if these two are successful, it is possible that more magazines will be coming out in the future.

Shift to Mobile

Many companies are trying to increase their presence on mobile devices with mixed results. Yahoo is doing well so far but the company is eager to expand its mobile user base. During the CES keynote, Mayer announced Yahoo's acquisition of Aviate, the company behind a smartphone app capable of bringing up apps and information based upon a user's activity.

"Imagine if your phone can deliver the right experience to you at the right time instead of you having to search for it," Mayer said. "What if your phone suggested music and map apps when you got in your car or fitness apps when you got into the gym?"

Yahoo's acquisition of Aviate may easily lead to an interesting application in the near future that could become popular with mobile users. From the information provided in the keynote, Aviate's application appears similar to Apple's Siri and Google Now but with a different focus.

A connection between Yahoo's mobile push and its news services will likely arise once both are fully in place. With the company predicting that there will 3.8 billion connected devices by 2017, a complete shift toward mobile seems to be a good idea.

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