Yahoo Begins Radical Home Page Overhaul

Reuters reports Yahoo Inc is moving ahead on Thursday with a radical redesign of its home page — the most heavily trafficked site on the Web — making changes that give users a personalized view of the wider Web.

The Internet media giant is under the gun to deliver on year-old promises to transform Yahoo from a network of more or less insular properties into “starting points” that help consumers quickly navigate their way to the rest of the Web.

“We are going to put what matters to you most at your fingertips,” said Tapan Bhat, the senior vice president in charge of “front doors” — the main destinations at Yahoo, including Yahoo.com, MyYahoo and the Yahoo toolbar.

The new Yahoo home page features a tab on the left hand column of the page with sophisticated links to the user’s 10 or 20 favorite sites. It functions as an alternative to navigation methods like bookmarks, link bars or browser tabs, he said.

In its simplest sense, Yahoo is blending the broadcast, editorially-controlled view that Yahoo.com has long offered with the personalized, self-selected view of information that the company’s MyYahoo service has long offered. It mixes things users know they want, with the serendipitous or unexpected.

“For the first time, we are going to marrying those two to take the best of both,” Bhat promised.

The changes, which Yahoo is testing on only a small group of users initially, will lead to a full-scale overhaul later. Two years ago, the last such redesign of Yahoo.com took up to six months to fully implement, the Yahoo executive said.

The makeover of Yahoo.com marks the company’s 14-year evolution from the Web’s pioneering directory of sites to an index of links to a search navigation tool to a complex media destination site. Reuters has more