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Wanna See the Latest New Yahoo Home Page, Rolling Out Next Month? Bokay!

Out with the old new, in with the new new!

I have been a little lax in lifting interesting tidbits out of Yahoo for some months now, mostly because it felt like the Alibaba Group IPO — and its piles of dough headed into company coffers — was the only riveting thing going on over there at its Silicon Valley HQ.

No longer! Yesterday’s earnings — more deep and interesting details I have dug up on that Ken Goldman masterstroke of a spreadsheet soon — got me back into the heating ducts once again to ferret around and see what I could find out about what is going on inside. And, no surprise, I came up with this latest internal screenshot of the new homepage that CEO Marissa Mayer is apparently planning to unveil in November, now in beta testing. It’s been showing up for a month now and has even been tweeted about, so this is not such a surprise.

As you can see, comparing the newest screenshot to the current one — which was redone only a year ago — it is a dramatic change. Since I will doubtlessly not be briefed on it by Yahoo, I shall brief you readers (click the images to enlarge).

Out with the old new, in with the new new!
Out with the old new, in with the new new!
The old Yahoo homepage
The old Yahoo homepage

Starting from the left bar, it pushes only mail, video and the fancy digital magazines that Mayer has been touting, and not the many other sections of Yahoo, like weather and jobs (more sections also lose top navigation billing, such as games and groups). Only From Yahoo gets a boost up, and trending moves to the top now (it has been elsewhere in previous betas seen). The editor-driven news carousel seems to have been subsumed entirely by the algorithmic news feed, with a liberal sprinkling of native in-stream ads. Sadly for all those Yahoo editors, the only edit-driven module seems to be on the right, which means it may be harder to push fare from big stars like news anchor Katie Couric that Yahoo has hired at a big cost (Katie in the stream next to credit card ads seems like a bad idea to me!).

And where the bigger pay-the-bills display ad on the right went, I have no idea, but there seems to be a smaller one there.

Which is why there has been some amount of internal grumbling from the Yahoo sales department, as well as some of the edit staff, about the changes that have been led by product head Mike Kerns. The worries include an impact to traffic, as well as not enough testing.

No griping! Sources said Mayer wants it to roll out sometime in mid-November, although this version may not be the final one by any means.

Perhaps most importantly, though, this redesign looks very much like a homepage that would look good on a tablet or phone, which is not a surprise since Mayer spent some time on the third-quarter earnings call this week talking down the PC-led experience and talking up mobile. She should, since — according to comScore — U.S. visitors to Yahoo sites declined 16 percent year over year in the quarter, after an eight percent decline in the second quarter. Meanwhile, mobile uniques rose 34 percent in the time frame.

Update: My Twitter pal, Michael Bonnett Jr., who first spotted the new homepage betas, posted another photo today that shows that when you mouse over the left tab, this time over magazines, it pulls out and shows you all their editors. Including Katie Couric in news! Phew, Katie gets her due!

Here is Bonnett’s photo of it in action:

 Katie is back!
Katie is back!
Michael Bonnett, Jr.

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