Yahoo plans to give e-mail, search a facelift


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Yahoo Inc., struggling to win back Internet users who have been drawn to popular hangouts such as Facebook, said Thursday that it plans to give many of its products a makeover this fall.

At a special event held at the company’s Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters, Yahoo’s Blake Irving, who joined the company as chief product officer in April, said Yahoo is going to “feel a little bit different.”


Among its plans: Yahoo will let users send messages and post updates to Twitter from its site. It is also planning to make its e-mail service twice as fast and plans to stock its search pages with more visual content to engage users. It’s also working on a revamped advertising platform.

Irving said new features, updates and products will come out faster than in the past because Yahoo is going to focus on innovation. He pledged that Yahoo will get its “cool” back.

That effort has been underway for some time. Under Carol Bartz, who took over as chief executive 20 months ago, Yahoo has increased profitability and entered into a search deal with Microsoft. But that has not made revenue and the company’s stock price surge. In the meantime, talent has defected, Yahoo has ceded its spot as the No. 2 search engine in the United States to Microsoft’s Bing and page views have slipped.

One bright spot is Yahoo’s stake in the privately held Chinese company Alibaba Group, which analysts value at about $11 billion. Yahoo has no plans to sell that stake.

-- Jessica Guynn