Earlier today, I wrote about the new Yahoo home page. My requests to toy with the new Yahoo home page in a Yahoo developer sandbox were not met.
Here is what we see currently:
I am very anxious to play around with the new Yahoo home page when it becomes available later today -- for one reason in particular: My Favorites.
I saw this in action during a July 20 demo from Tapan Bhat, senior vice president of Integrated Consumer Experience at Yahoo, and it looked intriguing. If users opt to use the new Yahoo home page today after 1:20 PDT, it will look like this:
By mousing over the Facebook selection under My Favorites, users will get a pop-out of their accounts without having to even click into the app. Note the Quaker Oats ad next to the content, which is Yahoo's key to monetizing the home page.
Search Engine Land's Greg Sterling has more pics here. Yahoo's programmers basically turned the left-hand rail into an RSS feed of many of Web users' favorite Web services and destinations, such as Facebook, Gmail, Twitter and MySpace.
Forrester Research's Jeremiah Owyang summed it up:
"Yahoo's new homepage is more like a feedreader and application platform for users to do more without leaving Yahoo.com."
Ostensibly, Yahoo's home page has become a sort of customizable platform, not unlike the company's own My Yahoo page, or iGoogle, which is where I live for applications.
What does Yahoo's My Favorites offer that the Google Gadgets and My Yahoo pages don't? Answer: greater simplicity.
When I want to add something to my iGoogle page, I have to go to Google Gadgets, search for new apps and install them on my iGoogle page. Similarly, My Yahoo users have to click to choose the apps they want.
For My Favorites, Yahoo is doing this unbidden via RSS. There are no installations or application searching required.
It's just there, and if users want to use it they can. Moreover, Yahoo is providing an App Maker to let users create apps and render them via a simple URL.
So if users don't see apps they want, they can whip them up instead of waiting for a programmer to write them a gadget. iGoogle is great, but as a non-technical person, I'm at the mercy of the gadget programmers.
What Yahoo has done is take the Web's go-to destinations and make them accessible from its front door. Ideally, it's a super social portal that would serve as a user's starting point.
Unfortunately, I'm already comfortable with iGoogle, and I don't mind adding gadgets, so I'm not inclined to switch. But I think this will go over great with existing Yahoo users. It certainly won't chase them away.
While Yahoo is wisely placing ads within the My Favorites pop-outs, I don't know what this approach will do for Yahoo from a financial perspective. The company announces earnings today.
See more on the Yahoo home page relaunch on TechMeme here.