Media

Yahoo unveils three-year plan to become cool again

Yahoo executives spoke to journalists at the company’s Sunnyvale, Calif. headquarters this morning about their future plans — both upcoming improvements to products like Yahoo Mail, and an ambitious three-year strategy to revitalize the company.

Chief products officer Blake Irving acknowledged that the company has a challenge in “bringing cool back to Yahoo.” A key part of that strategy is moving faster. Yahoo will be improving its products in shorter cycles, rather than spending a lot of time on grand product revamps that aim to “boil the ocean” with a bunch of new features. And those products will be better united into a single vision and experience, he said.

Chief technology officer Raymie Stata said Yahoo has been developing a new infrastructure for all of its products that will allow for that rapid iteration based on user data. Irving, a former Microsoft executive, added that one of the reasons that he decided to join Yahoo earlier this year was his realization that Yahoo had a stronger tech focus than he had previously believed. There’s a perception that Yahoo has become more of a media company, he said, but in fact it’s an “amazing technology company in the media business.”

Pressed to outline what Yahoo will look like if the plans succeeds, Irving said, “Yahoo in three years is a global series of Web experiences across a variety of different devices.”

Reporters also asked how Yahoo will know if it has succeeded in its plans. Irving said there are internal goals that the company will use to measure its success, but he declined to share them. Earlier in the event, he did say that over the three-year period, Yahoo aims to increase the number of Yahoo visitors who log in while using its products from 50 percent to 100 percent.

You can see some of the individual pieces of the product strategy in the graphic above.

Beyond the grand vision, Irving also previewed new products that Yahoo will be unveiling over the next few months, including:

  • A new version of Yahoo Mail that’s faster, has an improved user interface, integrates with Facebook and Twitter, and blocks more spam [Update: I filmed a video demo of the new Yahoo Mail.]
  • A new layout in Yahoo Search that presents more content around entertainment and news searches
  • A new Yahoo iPad app
  • New ad formats

You can see screenshots of the new Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Search below.

Yahoo Mail Screenshot
Yahoo Search Movies Screenshot


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