Mayer's Yahoo Makeover: CES 2014 - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Applications
News
1/8/2014
10:34 AM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Mayer's Yahoo Makeover: CES 2014

CEO Marissa Mayer launches new products, showcases a media company emerging from years of rudderless leadership.

CES 2014: 8 Technologies To Watch
CES 2014: 8 Technologies To Watch
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Yahoo is reborn. At CES 2014, CEO Marissa Mayer announced acquisitions and initiatives designed to further the turnaround she began after being appointed to lead the company in July 2012.

Mayer had plenty of star power to attract attention to her initiatives. She was joined by journalists Katie Couric and David Pogue; both recently left jobs in traditional media to help Mayer remake Yahoo as a web and mobile media company. Singer John Legend and cast members from "Saturday Night Live" also appeared.

Mayer made it clear that Yahoo is focused on mobile at least as much as the web, its traditional strength. She announced the acquisition of Aviate, a company that makes a homescreen launcher app for Android devices. Just as Yahoo curates web content, Aviate curates apps -- evidently smartphones now have so many apps that Yahoo believes it can add value through presentation and organization.

No financial terms were disclosed, but investors appear to have already made up their minds about Mayer's ability to revitalize Yahoo: Its stock now sells for about $40 per share, up from $15 per share when Mayer took over.

[On the other hand, this: Yahoo Ads Hack Spreads Malware.]

Mayer also announced the debut of Yahoo News Digest, a news summary app based on Summly, a content summarization app that Yahoo acquired last year.

The app, available for iPhone and iPod Touch, breaks content in "Atoms" and combines them, so that a text summary of an article might be accompanied by a map, infographic, or information extracted from another source. It presents its news summaries, created algorithmically and editorially, twice daily. While Yahoo News Digest won't do much for literacy, its mobile-friendly news morsels should be appreciated by those whose appetite for information is sated with a headline.

Yahoo also launched Yahoo Tech and Yahoo Food, websites modeled after image-heavy magazines, not to mention visually oriented websites like The Verge and Pinterest.

Mike Kerns, senior VP of homepages and verticals at Yahoo, described the web publications in a blog post as an effort to "marry the elegant design and bold imagery of traditional magazines with immersive bite-sized stories, engaging videos, and stunning photos curated from Flickr and across the web."

The two websites lack traditional banner ads. Instead, they contain what Kerns called "native advertising -- that is, articles, videos, and tips that are just as engaging as the stories around them." They are, he said, clearly marked as "sponsored stories," a term Facebook pioneered as a euphemism for "ads."

The two sites are designed so that users never have to leave them. Clicking on a story tile expands the article, which collapses when another tile is clicked. Kerns made a virtue out of this nonstandard navigation paradigm by noting that users don't have to deal with browser tabs, multiple windows, or the "back" button.

Yahoo also revamped its advertising offerings. Yahoo Advertising now includes Tumblr Sponsored Posts, a targeted ad offering called Yahoo Audience Ads, two new ad buying platform offerings -- Yahoo Ad Manager and Ad Manager Plus, and Yahoo Ad Exchange, a global ad marketplace for publishers.

Finally, the company introduced Yahoo Smart TV, a revision of the Yahoo Connected TV platform. The service is available on certain Samsung and Vizio TVs.

Thomas Claburn is editor-at-large for InformationWeek. He has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and his mobile game Blocfall Free is available for iOSAndroid, and Kindle Fire.

Can the trendy tech strategy of DevOps really bring peace between developers and IT operations -- and deliver faster, more reliable app creation and delivery? Also in the DevOps Challenge issue of InformationWeek: Execs charting digital business strategies can't afford to take Internet connectivity for granted.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Shane M. O'Neill
50%
50%
Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
1/8/2014 | 1:49:39 PM
Re: Makeover Not Done Yet (I Hope)
Going broad is a bad idea in tech media and Yahoo Tech's "tech site for normal people" strategy is about as broad as it gets. Problem is, most "normal" people aren't interested enough in tech to read a tech news site regularly and passionately. The other problem is that when you really dig into the Yahoo Tech's content, it's still a site for tech enthusiasts and not that different from The Verge or Engadget, which it scorns for being too geeky. The whole "normal people" premise does not hold water.
Thomas Claburn
50%
50%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
1/8/2014 | 12:58:05 PM
Re: Makeover Not Done Yet (I Hope)
Ryan Block, former Engadget editor, posted a tongue-in-cheek tweet that aptly summarized the problem with Yahoo Tech: "In other news, my next startup is going to be a sports site for people who don't care about sports. It's going to be incredible"
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

News
Becoming a Self-Taught Cybersecurity Pro
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  6/9/2021
News
Ancestry's DevOps Strategy to Control Its CI/CD Pipeline
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  6/4/2021
Slideshows
IT Leadership: 10 Ways to Unleash Enterprise Innovation
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/8/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll