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Marissa Mayer Unveils Yahoo's New Look

Taking to NBC's Today Show, In Spite Of ABC News Partnership

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Well, Yahoo is starting to look like it's in the 21st century.

CEO Marissa Mayer unveiled a new look for Yahoo's home page and mobile sites on the "Today" show this morning, with a cleaner look that is more of a refresh than a complete redesign.

"We wanted it to be familiar but we also wanted it to embrace some of the modern paradigms of the web," Ms. Mayer said on the show this morning.

The central new component is a newsfeed running down the center of page that is supposed to be personalized to a visitor's reading habits as well as what their Facebook friends have liked and read if they log in using a Facebook ID. "It's more personalized and it's more dynamic," Ms. Mayer said.

The company said the new look would be rolled out to all Yahoo users over the next few days.

The new look is the biggest attempt to date to give current Yahoo visitors a reason to "come back each day." Yahoo doesn't exactly have an audience size problem -- with more than 170 million visitors in the U.S. each month -- but it is facing declining engagement among those users. As Ad Age noted in July, Yahoo monthly pages per visitor dropped 36% from May 2009 to May 2012 in the U.S. and time spent per visitor dropped 31% over the same period, according to Comscore data.

Yet Yahoo has been talking about personalization for some time, so it's not exactly clear what was in the works prior to Ms. Mayer's arrival and what was her doing.

For example, in an interview with Ad Age a year ago, Mike Kerns, now VP-product, said the company was working on ways to allow readers to easily give feedback on the types of stories they wanted to see: "At Yahoo today," Mr. Kerns said, "we're very good at the voice and serendipity component, as well as targeting content to users based on their usage. The crazy thing is that we have 700 million people coming to our sites and we're not even doing a good job of listening to them."

The new design also extends to Yahoo's mobile sites, which look a lot fresher and allow for swiping as is now the norm on touch devices. One of the reasons for the cleaner look is that many mobile pages aren't carrying any ads right now, based on this reporter's experience using the site this morning. But when an ad did appear, it included blurry, unreadable text [pictured in image] that Ms. Mayer probably wouldn't appreciate considering her stance that mobile ads should "enhance the experience" .

Lastly, the appearance on the "Today" show may leave some people inside of Yahoo and ABC News scratching their heads, though, as Business Insider noted. That's because Yahoo has a partnership with "Good Morning America" -- "Today" show's biggest competitor.

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