This morning in Sunnyvale, California, Yahoo held a large press event to explain its new product strategy and debut some products out this fall. Blake Irving, Yahoo’s EVP and chief products officer, also outlined the challenges he faces at the company. He wants to bring “cool back to Yahoo.”
What does that mean? An iterative approach to design that looks a lot more like Google.
According to Silicon Alley Insider, Irving explained:
“You’re going to see things over the next few years that will feel a
little bit different”. We’re going to be iterating much more frequently
than we do today. People see Yahoo and see multiple verticals — you’re
going to increasingly see “One Yahoo”. Going to be both on and off
network. Yahoo is something that you take with you.”
Product changes at the company include a faster and smoother mail client with Google-esque features like threaded conversations. They’ll also be offering speedier search results and better mobile integration. And an iPad app that looks like the most promising new product from the company, with a new spin on visual news delivery.
The new changes aren’t due later this fall, but the event was more of a marketing announcement than anything else.
After a few years of negative press and confused messaging, Yahoo is actively trying to wrestle back control of its image.
There are so many smart people at Yahoo, yet they receive continually negative press. A large part of that is because their messaging and ad campaigns are fragmented and sometimes contradictary.
They have some big hurdles to bypass, especially with a Microsoft search partnership that has given many the impression that Yahoo has signed away the rights to its most profitable arm.
Only half of Yahoo’s 600 million users log in each month. That’s not a great number. Irving says the company wants to make Yahoo.com welcoming enough that 100% of its users choose to authenticate.
But despite promises today that Yahoo is going to spend more time deploying products and listening to criticism, it’s going to be difficult to get the large company to present itself with cohesive messaging.
Even Irving can’t quite explain Yahoo. Asked a simple question: “What is Yahoo?” He gave the following response:
“Yahoo is a global series of Web experiences across a variety of
devices that gives people what they want. In content it connects
advertisers to an audience that is global in scope. Yahoo is all about
delivering experiences to individuals that make them engage with each
other. Folks anchor on are you a search company? A content company? A
communications company? We would likee to engage with people on the
things that matter most to them.”
Try saying that three times fast.