Live Blogging Yahoo’s Product Call

I will be living blogging Yahoo’s product call, so please check back here for frequent updates.

2:00pm: Title of the introductory slide is “Connecting You To What Matters Most”.

2:04pm: Still waiting to begin, not sure what the delay is.

2:06pm: The conference room manager said she is still trying to find the presenter, if you know where he is, press a certain key combination. I have never seen this happen with such a big conference bridge.

2:09pm: Kryssa Guntrum, the presenter is typing in the chat room, just waiting for him to get on the phone portion.

2:10pm: They are starting now…. They have “significant enhancements” to their most popular products, said Elisa Steele, CMO.

2:12pm: Yahoo’s vision is to be the center of people’s lives. Core to this is to be:

(1) Personally relevant

(2) Human relevance by connecting people

(3) Technology and science

(4) Having fun by making things fun and easier to use

2:14pm: Execution of this vision, i.e. to be the center of people’s lives. Nothing better shows this than Yahoo’s new home page, which brings what you want to the front. This is more than customization and personalized, it is about users taking control and Yahoo allowing users to bring the best of the web to you. You can choose ESPN or Yahoo Sports, or Twitter or whatever is relevant to you.

2:15pm: The user experience must be predictable.

2:16pm: Bryan Lamkin, SVP, Applications to talk about Yahoo’s Applications Update is now up.

2:17pm: Bryan Lamkin at Yahoo for four months now, he has been at Adobe for 14 years, working on Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. And what he did there can help Yahoo at a larger scale.

2:19pm: Yahoo is a great starting point for the web. Defining an integrated experience is important. They have a great set of technology. Bryan’s job is to deliver this great experience. His goal is to make sure you choose Yahoo’s properties within the Yahoo portal. Such as enhancements in Yahoo Messenger, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Search and Yahoo Mobile products.

2:20pm: What do people need on the web? (1) Easy way to check in on the people and info that matters to them. One central place for this. (2) Simple tools to navigate to the sites they need most. (3) A view into what is happening in the rest of the world.

2:21pm: Yahoo wants to bridge that world together as the world gets more complicated.

2:25pm: 4 components to designing these core applications include: (1) Rich media (i.e. video, Flickr, etc) (2) Smart services (i.e. mail and messenger, a workflow system for your Yahoo mail to be shown later) (3) Convergence across different communication protocols, different applications and Yahoo is expected to break down those walls. (4) Anytime, anywhere. You need access no matter where you are (i.e. mobile apps).

2:26pm: Yahoo Mail demo by John Kremer, VP of Yahoo Mail

2:30pm: Yahoo mail is not only about email only, it is about social communications:

Yahoo Mail (Status Casting)

Notice the middle panel where you can read mail from the people that matter to you the most. “Recent unread emails from contacts.” Also notice the “Confirm to Get Updates” on the bottom right.

2:34pm: You can add folders of images to a sent email and then edit those photos in the mail (delete, rotate, etc) and you have up to 25MB of space per email:

Yahoo Mail

Yahoo Mail

2:37pm: Integrated MyPhotos application allows you to share photos and photos you share automatically get connected to your friends:

Yahoo Mail Photos

2:40pm: Yahoo is adding an evite application, which isn’t available today, but will be eventually. It auto-fills from the Yahoo address book:

evite & Yahoo

Also, you can easily add this to your calendar:

Yahoo Evite Calendar

2:42pm: Yahoo also releasing a mobile version of Yahoo Mail…

Features: 1 click access to read, compose, etc. Read access to word, excel, etc, and one click sync.

Yahoo Mail Mobile iPhone App

2:44pm: Dave Merriwether, Sr. Director of Yahoo Messenger is now up for a demo. New beta releasing today, globally.

2:45pm: One feature change is ability to change the language without redownloading a new app (16 languages):

Yahoo Messenger

2:46pm: You have search assist built right in:

Yahoo Messenger with Search Assist

2:47pm: Change weather to a location and the local news changes also:

Yahoo Local

2:49pm: More social details including overlays and a “Y! Updates” tab in messenger:

Yahoo Messenger

Yahoo Messenger

2:50pm: Rich media with video chat and also sharing photos in the window:

Yahoo Messenger

2:52pm: Larry Cornett, VP of Search Products and Design is now up to talk about Search.

2:53pm: New Yahoo search design, makes it easier to find and explore things that matter most to you.

2:54pm: Why are they making this change?

Aligned with new look and feel of yahoo home page. Gives more personally relevant experience to your search. Plus quicker access to search features available within Yahoo Search (old features, more in front). Search Monkey has been structuring the web, and they are bringing those back into the search experience.

2:55pm: The new Yahoo Search framework:

Yahoo Search Framework

The most change is on the left column…

2:57pm: The left column explained:

Search Apps, such as McCafee, for safe search features. Also, to display SearchPad. Site Filters, Filter results by sites people love for that query (such as, Wikipedia, Twitter, Flickr, eHow and other very popular sites) Data filters, using Search Monkey to pull out the structured (“objects”) data Assistance, like search assist that you see at the top of the page, but this is more personalized search suggestions.

3:00pm: Demo time, here are screens:

Yahoo Search

Yahoo Search

I can see this myself, here is a sharper screen capture:

Yahoo Search

Yahoo Search

Yahoo Search

3:04pm: We will take away “searching for people” from Google’s domain:

Yahoo People finding

3:07pm: Now he is showing off related concepts to show power of personalized search suggestions:

First searches for car related terms, i.e. toyota, honda, then jaguar.

Yahoo Personalized Results

Then I go into animal searches:

Yahoo Personalized Results

Note related concepts at bottom left.

3:09pm: Calculator and magic 8 ball app:

Yahoo Apps

Yahoo Apps

3:10pm: Yahoo Search integration with search assist in other Yahoo properties:

Yahoo Search Integration

Yahoo Search Integration

Yahoo Search Integration

3:12pm: Prabhakar Raghavan, SVP of Yahoo Labs and Search Strategy is now up to talk about matching content to people.

They need to pull out the right piece of content for each user, depending on the person requesting it. Once they figure out the right content for the right person, how do they display that content the best way for the user.

3:15pm: Science and Technology through machine learning via content optimization. The algorithms look at what people are reading, clicking on, when the content expires and so on. The idea is to figure out what content to show on the home page and drives higher click through rate.

3:17pm: Social Science through measuring audience engagement metrics, i.e. pageviews and clicks. But looking forward, Yahoo needs to go beyond those metrics. A pageview on search is very different than a pageview on mail. So what are the right metrics to gauge these for advertisers?

3:19pm: Economics in pricing theory and option theory, through ad optimization. There are challenges of scale with these marketplaces.

3:21pm: Search through web of objects, as opposed to “web of pages.” It is no longer about how many pages you can index, but how many objects you can understand on the web.

That is the scientific investment on Yahoo’s side.

3:23pm: Q&A Time. It is very hard to hear the questions, will listen and add anything I can hear that is important to search.

Someone asked about how Microsoft’s deal impacts the search side. Yahoo answered that Yahoo will innovate on the front end, not on the backend gathering of web pages, but on how the information is displayed to users and personalized based on the data Yahoo has.

Does the Microsoft deal distract from Yahoo’s Search strategy? Um, how do you think Yahoo will answer this. :)

This is funny, the same Q comes up time and time again, if Microsoft is doing search, why are you doing this? Yahoo keeps saying, they control the front end of those results. Not sure if the media understand that, and if they cannot, will searchers understand that?

ETA for launch: Later this year, but current under test mode.

Postscript: See Yahoo’s New Search Clothes — But Will It Help? (Probably Not) for a longer look at the Yahoo search changes.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Top News | Yahoo: Finance | Yahoo: Mail | Yahoo: Search

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About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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