RealTime IT News

Facelift For Yahoo's Home Page

Yahoo is quietly testing a redesigned front page that makes its search features more prominent and puts all its various services front and center for users.

The design, which began appearing to select users today, brings the search function much higher on the page and offers larger icons of the portal's popular features beyond search, such as mail and messenger, as well as localized features such as weather, movies and search.

A Yahoo spokesperson said the front page is in testing phase right now.

Yahoo homepage
Click on the graphic for a larger view of Yahoo's new homepage

"Yahoo is keenly focused on creating the most innovative, easy-to-use and valuable products for our users as their needs evolve," said Meagan Busath, Yahoo spokesperson.

"Part of this process includes ongoing efforts to provide an even more relevant experience by continuously building upon Yahoo's strengths in content, community, personalization and search."

She said current testing would continue and evolve as feedback on the design comes in from users and testers.

As for whether Yahoo would be moving its mail beta into general release, Yahoo said it was still expanding the list of beta testers for the latest mail redesign features.

Yahoo recently opened its application programming interfaces for its Photo, MyWeb 2.0 and Calendar applications, and also took the wraps off a revised Shopping API.

The new and revised interfaces will help Web developers build applications that use the Yahoo services. The APIs are a continuation of an effort begun a year ago by Yahoo with the launch of the Yahoo Search Developer Network.

The latest design changes help promote some of the shopping features for Yahoo, as well as make some of Yahoo's personalization features more prominent.

Access to the APIs are available for non-commercial use for free and by request on a "case by case basis" for commercial use.

Ash Patel, chief product officer for Yahoo, explained that the company is currently in the process of developing a comprehensive program for commercial access and tools.

"We firmly believe that by letting third-party developers build applications on top of Yahoo that ultimately our users will benefit."