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MyYahoo!, Yahoo!’s personal home page and news reader, was redesigned earlier this year and available as an opt-in upgrade in beta. Today I logged in to discover my page has been automatically upgraded, suggesting either a coming out of beta, or part of a slow roll out to all MyYahoo! users.

In any case this joins a long list of recent online product redesigns. The new look and feel are more consistent with Yahoo!’s home page and the site is generally sharper with a more intuitive layout, tabs and Ajax functionality. See screenshot below (click to enlarge).


Role Models

MyYahoo! has done as much as any other personal home page product to popularize RSS and personalization for news, weather sports, classifieds and video. Similar products that have gained some traction for compelling feature sets and personalization tools include NetVibes, Pageflakes and iGoogle.

Having all these forms of content in one place could grow in popularity, along with the general trend toward blended search. This is compared with offline media where content has traditionally been siloed into different buckets (television, magazines, Yellow Pages, newspapers, radio, etc.). Online consumers are coming to expect everything in one place and personalized home pages are the epitome of that standard.

Given that news is a central part of the personalized home page experience, newspapers have an opportunity to build these types of tools that utilize their trusted brands, feature their own content and also allow users to personalize their “front page” with feeds of different news sources, categories and classifieds. The New York Times’ MyTimes and a few others already do this to some degree.

In terms of content syndication, there are RSS feeds available for just about every online news source. Craigslist also has RSS feeds available for any classified category as well as specific search terms (i.e., “studio apartment in Pacific Heights, San Francisco”). Users can set up these RSS feed within any personalized news reader — something that could and should be looked at by any classified provider interested in greater online distribution.

(click to enlarge)


The challenge with such offerings has traditionally been to gain mainstream traction with a vaguely defined technology that carries yet another confusing three-letter tech acronym. Here, branding will be an issue and a nod should be given to MyYahoo!, which has popularized the medium to a certain degree, without ever using the term RSS.

Keep It Simple, Stupid

Easy customization will indeed be a key part of the formula for success. Along these lines, one thing that occurred to me as I was playing with my own MyYahoo! page today is that this format is very similar to a Facebook profile in its customization for displaying news, events, even classifieds, through an expanding universe of widgets developed by third parties.

For Facebook this mostly takes place within the microcosm of one’s social network, while MyYahoo! covers the larger world of news, weather, sports, etc. But they overlap in a lot of ways and have similar appeal in their ease in customization and level of personalization — things that should be examined closely by any online product or destination interested in building compelling products that are in line with evolving user expectations.

Overall, MyYahoo! is a great online utility that Yahoo! could market more heavily as a jumping off point to the Internet. Video products will also fit in to RSS and personalized home pages, as explored in the TKG White Paper From Reach to Targeting: The Transformation of TV in the Internet Age.

And social networking could be brought into the fold, although this would would likely happen via acquisition as Yahoo!’s own social network, Yahoo!360, has failed to get the widespread traction it needs. Indeed, Yahoo! pulled the plug on it last week. And we’ve all heard the rumors about a Yahoo!/Facebook deal, although it’s unlikely this will happen anytime soon as Facebook’s value — and its resolve — continues to escalate.

As video, news, classifieds, local search, shopping, social networking and other forms of online activity continue to converge, expect more product development and more consumer traction from MyYahoo!, Netvibes, Pageflakes and the like — as well as others that will come along.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. This has been around for ages now. Do you mean they made changes recently (in the last couple of days?)

  2. This was just made available to me today, so it is part of a redesign that is slowly being rolled out to Yahoo! users. In any case, prior to today, it wasn’t pushed to everyone so not completely and officially launched (it was available as an opt-in beta upgrade but not an automatic upgrade as happened to me today).

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