Blog Post

Yahoo Wants to Tweak Its Way to the Top

Yahoo (s YHOO) tried to reestablish itself as a technology company with a press event today at its Sunnyvale, Calif. headquarters. While that’s an uphill battle in both perception and execution, the company does indeed have new technology leadership. Yahoo Chief Products Officer Blake Irving (who joined the company three months ago) led the presentation, which included demos by CTO Raymie Stata (who was appointed to that role in June), and comments from Search Lead Shashi Seth (who joined the company at the beginning of the year). However, it seems like the new team hasn’t had time to get anything big done.

New Yahoo Chief Products Officer Blake Irving

Irving told reporters to expect Yahoo to be more unified, to iterate at a quicker pace, and to expand its presence off its own sites. He and Stata showed off coming changes to the company’s front page, mail and search products. None of them are actually available today; they’re due “later this fall.”

Irving and Stata shied away from publicly disclosing Yahoo’s metrics for measuring its own success. Irving said half of Yahoo’s 600 million users log in each month, and through bettering its product offerings, the company hopes to convince 100 percent of visitors to authenticate.

The upcoming products — a new, faster Yahoo mail UI that has a more consistent look and feel across desktop and mobile, threaded conversations in Yahoo Groups, and slideshows for trending search topics — are all interface tweaks rather than great leaps forward. However, Yahoo promised all its products will work much better, thanks to its private cloud computing infrastructure (which now handles 100 billion events a day with 200 petabytes of data), and will be much more responsive in regions further from Yahoo’s data centers.

Upcoming Yahoo front page for tablets

Yahoo did show off one thing I hadn’t seen before: an interface formatted specifically for tablets. When you visit Yahoo’s front page from an iPad, (s AAPL) you’ll get a graphic-heavy view of news that’s curated, personalized and looks quite similar to FlipBoard. Looks very nice.

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12 Responses to “Yahoo Wants to Tweak Its Way to the Top”

  1. First Carol Bartz….now Blake Irving. To quote Hermes Conrad, “Sweet Yeti of the Serengeti.” I blame all this on Yahoo’s Board of Directors, surely the most inept clueless pack of chair warmers in the history of the Internets. Dudes, ring up Ballmer, and beg, beg, beg for $20 bucks a share.

  2. These changes, and how they were implemented wrecked Yahoo Groups and sent users scurrying away in droves. Yahoo may have ambitious plans, but all the people that make them who they are seem to have been forgotten…forsaken for a room full of noobie slick talkers. Let’s see how many more they can drive away from Yahoo Mail. I left after the last “new mail”. Let’s see how badly they can mess it up even more.

  3. mrscottishman

    They have absolutely ruined Yahoo Groups. There are no words in the English language to describe the mass destruction affecting millions of people. One by one they are changing each Group over to the new format and effectively shutting them down. We are talking about world wide recycling groups, women’s abuse support groups, children’s issue groups, Military family support groups and thousands of more groups that serve a civic purpose. Loss of post numbering. Loss of years of archives. Loss of reply to sender. Loss of chronological order. Locking up browsers on many computers. Moderators that can’t remove spam. No privacy controls. It just goes on and on. They haven’t got the decency to even reply to thousands of posts on the Yahoo Group Suggestion forum. Now I suspect they are planning on ruining Yahoo Mail with the announcement of a Yahoo Mail redesign.

    I will be sending my information to a gmail account to prepare for the coming oblivion.

  4. I’m in two yahoo fantasy leagues this year. Yahoo’s iphone apps are TERRIBLE and basically did not work in Week 1, despite having been updated several times.

    I applaud Yahoo’s acquisition of Sportacular, which at least brings them to par with ESPN Score Center, but their App development seems like a joke.

    I’m surprised their isn’t more outrage at Apple for hard-coding the mediocre Yahoo Finance and Weather apps on the iPhone 3GS and making it impossible to delete them.