Yahoo is overhauling its
website to incorporate features familiar to Facebook users
such as a newsfeed and people's "likes," in chief executive
Marissa Mayer's biggest product revamp since taking the helm
of the ailing company last year.
Mayer, who took over in July after a procession of CEOs was
shown the door, said in a blog post that Yahoo's redesigned
website will let users log in with their Facebook IDs to gain
access to content and information shared by friends - from
articles and videos to birthdays.
Yahoo is one of the world's most-visited online properties,
but revenue has declined in recent years amid competition
from Google and Facebook.
The changes to Yahoo's Internet shop window, which include a
more streamlined mobile application for smartphones and
tablets, will be rolled out over coming days. The makeover
follows a new version of Yahoo mail, one of its most popular
applications, introduced in December.
Analysts say the move marks a strengthening of Yahoo's ties
with Facebook, employing some of the social network's growing
data on its billion-plus users to battle Google for Web
users' attention. It remains to be seen whether the initial
makeover and tweaks expected over time will win back its
"This is definitely an important step. The Yahoo home page is
one of the most important things because it is the first
interface," said B. Riley Caris analyst Sameet Sinha. "It's
familiar in terms of layout, the newsfeed is interesting, and
it will be interesting to see how it develops over time.
"The key will be how data is aggregated within Yahoo and
Seven months into her tenure, former Google executive Mayer
has arrested the decline of the Internet portal and won
favour on Wall Street with stock buybacks among other things.
But Yahoo's forecast of a modest revenue uptick this year
still pales in comparison with the growth of rivals like
Google and Facebook, which are eating into its advertising
"We wanted it to be familiar but also wanted it to embrace
some of the modern paradigms of the Web," Mayer said of the
product revamp on NBC's Today show.
"One thing that I really like is this very personalised
newsfeed; it's infinite and you can go on scrolling forever,"
Among other problems, Yahoo has been plagued by internal
turmoil that has resulted in a revolving door of chief
executives. Mayer, 37, took over after a tumultuous period
during which former chief executive Scott Thompson resigned
after less than six months on the job over a controversy
about his academic credentials. Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang
then resigned from the board and cut ties with the company.
Thompson's predecessor, the controversial and outspoken Carol
Bartz, was fired over the phone for failing to deliver on
growth. Yahoo's 2012 revenue was $US5 billion. It has been
flat year over year, off from some $US6.3 billion in 2010.