Yahoo Wants to Tweak Its Way to the Top

YahooiPad

Yahoo 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, 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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