Reaching into its past, Yahoo!, Inc. (YHOO) has redesigned a cleaner, simpler homepage, in the hopes it will boost the company's future.
As a a hub on the Internet, Yahoo! is called a Web portal, but that is an overused word that sounds dated. The premise of Yahoo!'s business is to get more users to adopt its site as their home base. With so many users passing through each day, Yahoo! could then sell more ads to advertisers interested in the exposure.
That's the logic anyway. Whether Yahoo! can execute this plan and create a bright future remains to be seen. In essence, it's returning to a cleaner look for its homepage, more like the Yahoo page from 15 years ago and less crowded than recent incarnations. Yahoo! is allowing more white space on the page and adding widgets.
By relaunching its main site the company is hoping it's also hitting the reset button on its identity.
Will it work? Ben Parr at Mashable doesn't think so. He writes, "Yahoo believes that users are looking for one place to find everything they need. We don't believe that's the case. Users in the social media age are looking for engagement, to discover new ideas and new content."
The new Yahoo! widgets, which look very much like iPhone app buttons, are intended to keep folks visiting often and from there jump to the many other places they visit on the Web, such as Facebook, Skype, or Twitter. In a glaring omission, though, Yahoo doesn't have a pre-designed Twitter widget, although users can create their own, Kara Swisher of All Things Digital wrote.
Yahoo's future is at stake here. It needs to do something to spark interest in its brand. According to Swisher, it's about to enter a search agreement with Microsoft (MSFT), which would pay Yahoo! several billion dollars upfront to take over its search advertising business.
If Microsoft takes over search, Yahoo!'s identity in the eyes of consumers will come from its new home page. Whether the Internet company can sell display ads on the redesigned homepage and its features depends on how many users it can draw to the page. Yahoo!'s reputation, and future, hangs in the balance.
Anthony Massucci is a senior writer for DailyFinance. You may follow him on Twitter at hianthony.