Yahoo unveiled a revamped home page Wednesday that features online content recommended by users of Facebook, as Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer bolsters ties to the world’s biggest social network to step up growth.
In the most sweeping product overhaul since Mayer became CEO in July, Yahoo.com will begin showing its users news stories and other information that their friends have posted on Facebook, the company said.
The new site, which also emphasizes clean lines and flourishes in purple, Yahoo’s official color, goes live today.
It’s the first time Yahoo has redesigned the page in four years. In that time, the company has seen its annual revenue drop by about 30 percent from $7.2 billion in 2008 to $5 billion last year as more online advertising flowed to rivals such as Internet search leader Google Inc. and social networking leader Facebook Inc.
Mayer, who spent 13 years helping to build Google into the Internet’s most powerful company, has vowed to revive Yahoo Inc.’s revenue growth by establishing more of the company’s services as daily habits that “delight and inspire” their users.
Besides the home page, Mayer has also upgraded Yahoo’s e- mail and its Flickr photo-sharing service to win back users and advertising dollars and accelerate revenue gains.
The company plans to rely on Facebook data to make its sites more personal, Mayer said in an interview.
“We think it’s the right time to bring a more modern paradigm to Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO),” Mayer said. “Overall it was important to me that the page be dynamic, that it feel very fresh and that it be very intuitive.”
The new home page introduces a “news feed” of live, endlessly scrollable content, which includes articles, videos and messages from advertisers.
The overhaul was led in part by Jackie Goldberg, Yahoo’s design director and former creative director at Hewlett-Packard Co. Mayer said she met with the home-page team once a week over the past few months.
Yahoo had 184.9 million visitors to its sites in December, the second-most visited Web properties in the U.S., according to Reston, Virginia-based ComScore Inc. Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) had the most visitors, with 191.4 million, while Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) were third and fourth, respectively.
Enhancing social features is crucial to Yahoo’s success, Mayer said last week at an investor conference in San Francisco hosted by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
“One of the things that people really want to do is share their interests with their friends,” she said. “We need to have sharing built as a fundamental component.”
Yahoo is using a Facebook service called Facebook Connect to import data such as user “likes” and preferences from the social network. Yahoo previously incorporated some Facebook tools into its home page in 2009.
Yahoo will probably update the home page and other sites again this year, Mayer said.
“I think there should be multiple updates per year to any core page or application like this,” she said. “While this is the first of these updates in 2013, there would be more to come.”