Yahoo may be planning for social network domination, but that hasn't stopped the struggling search and content portal from announcing a major redesign of its homepage. It's the first redesign in over two years, during which time Yahoo has taken a financial beating, so it's safe to assume that the company has high hopes that this will rejuvenate one of its fundamental properties.
The most significant change Yahoo will offer is a much more customizable version of its homepage, powered by the "widgets" that are popular on similar content portals and social networking sites like iGoogle and Facebook.
More importantly, though, Yahoo is going to allow its home page and these widgets to interact with third-party sites and services, and it offered the example of a Netflix widget that can display customers' queues and ratings on Yahoo's homepage. These changes sound very similar to the features and functionality rolled out in a large update to its MyYahoo 2.0 customizable start page last July.
Yahoo's redesigned and customizable MyYahoo 2.0 start page, from which its upcoming homepage redesign may take inspiration
Yahoo offered no ETA for when these changes will arrive, only saying that they will appear gradually over the next few months. "You will see a rolling thunder kind of thing," Ash Patel, Yahoo's Executive Vice President its Audience and Product division, told the Associated Press. Yahoo is hosting a conference today to get third-party developers interested in building more widgets and integrating other services for its homepage.
In a departure from current practices, Yahoo will begin incorporating more content from third parties in major areas of its site. In the wake of its decision to close its DRM music store and refund money to customers, it will open a redesigned music section featuring content from new partners like the iTunes Store, Amazon, and presumably Rhapsody, which is Yahoo's official music partner. In order to populate Yahoo's news section, it will develop partnerships that will see it feature much more local content from newspapers around the US.
Yahoo hopes its upcoming advertising partnership with Google (assuming the DoJ lets it fly) can boost annual revenue by $800 million alone, and it clearly hopes that opening its doors to other content and services will better leverage its 500 million worldwide user base, and perhaps draw in a few more. Considering the social, syndicated nature of the web, the adaptations of its competitors, and the bruised and battered state a failed Microsoft buyout attempt left it in, these sound like positive changes that could help to retool Yahoo in a way that makes it a valuable content and social networking hub.Posted on