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Wed, Jul 22, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Yahoo overhauls home page for first time in three years

AP , SAN FRANCISCO

Yahoo Inc is sprucing up its Web site’s home page with a long-promised makeover that is supposed to make it easier to see what’s happening at the Internet’s other hot spots.

The revamped home page, which was scheduled to debut yesterday in the US, is part of an overhaul aimed at recapturing some of the buzz that Yahoo has lost to increasingly popular online hangouts like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

The retooled page will be introduced in the UK, India and France later this week. It will roll out to the rest of the world during the next year, with the option to retain the old design starting to phase out this fall.

The Sunnyvale, California-based company is hailing the new look as the biggest change to its front page since Yahoo’s Web site launched 15 years ago. It’s the first time that Yahoo has overhauled its home page since 2006.

“Every pixel on the page is relevant now,” boasted Tapan Bhat, a Yahoo senior vice president who oversaw the revisions. “We have taken out a lot of our own stuff that was creating a dead zone for our users.”

After spending the past 10 months tinkering with the redesign, Yahoo has a lot riding on the new look. The company sorely needs a lift, with its profits mired in a slump that has led to three different chief executives since June 2007.

Carol Bartz, the latest CEO hired six months ago, has predicted the revised home page will help revive the company by re-establishing its Web site as an Internet gateway for more people.

If she is right, Yahoo could get a better handle on its users’ interests and ultimately sell more of the ads that generate most of its revenue.

Yahoo is betting its home page will be more useful if it’s easier for people to connect with information and services available elsewhere.

Users can plant a variety of applications from other Web site onto a “My Favorites” section of the redesigned front page. The 65 applications initially available on Yahoo’s new page include competing e-mail services from Google Inc and AOL as well as plug-ins for Facebook and MySpace.

Once the outside applications are set up, Yahoo visitors can scroll over their favorite sites to get a glimpse at what’s happening elsewhere without leaving Yahoo.

The home page preferences programmed on a computer can also be transferred to appear on mobile phones and other handheld devices.

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