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CES: Yahoo set to battle Microsoft, Google

Gadget

AT CES this week, Yahoo head Marissa Meyer stepped up the ailing search company’s battle plans as it prepares to take on Microsoft and Google.

Yahoo head Marissa Meyer. (Reuters)

At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, Yahoo unveiled a new suite of advertising technology to help advertisers, publishers and partners get more return from their online advertising campaigns.

It also announced new products and media sites across smartphones, tablets and the web, as the ailing company stepped up its efforts to compete with rivals like Google and Microsoft.

In a keynote address, Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer outlined the company’s vision to make the world’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining. Yahoo executives were joined onstage by Yahoo’s new Global Anchor Katie Couric; Yahoo Tech vice president of editorial David Pogue; celebrity talent including SNL’s Cecily Strong and Keenan Thompson; as well as John Legend, Grammy-Award-winning artist and a member of Yahoo’s 2013 On the Road tour.

"Yahoo is about making the world’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining, and there are few places as inspiring and entertaining as CES," said Mayer. "We have been hard at work re-imagining Yahoo’s core businesses across search, communications, media and video – all powered by two powerful platforms, Flickr and Tumblr. The response has been tremendous. This fall, for the first time ever, we surpassed 400-million monthly mobile users, which is about half of our 800-million total monthly users."

At CES, Yahoo also announced the acquisition of Aviate, a company that created a product that auto-categorizes apps on the Android phone and intelligently gathers them into "spaces." By using signals to understand a person’s context – such as wi-fi, GPS, Accelerometer, or Time – Aviate promises automatically surfacing information at the moment it is useful.

"So whether a user is just waking up, driving, at work or out for the night, Aviate learns their digital habits and helps anticipate the information and apps they need," runs a Yahoo announcement.

Yahoo plans to make the Aviate technology a central part of its Android based experiences in 2014 and beyond and will continue to develop the product. Aviate, currently in private beta, is available to the first 25 000 people who download the app in the Google Play store and use code "YAHOO".

Other new Yahoo products include:

Yahoo News Digest

Yahoo launched Yahoo News Digest for iPhone and iPod touch, built using insights from Summly. Yahoo News Digest delivers the most important news of the day, twice per day, to a mobile device. Evolving the concept of summarisation a step further, the digests provide a summary of all the important, need-to-know news to help people stay on top of what is happening in the world. In the morning and evening, users will be notified when the top stories are ready to read. They can scan the Summly summary, as well as read units of information called "Atoms," which provide context to each story, including maps, infographics, videos, photos and more.

The New Yahoo Food and Yahoo Tech

Yahoo unveiled Yahoo Food and Yahoo Tech. These new digital magazines marry the design and imagery of traditional magazines with immersive bite-sized stories, engaging videos, and photos curated from Flickr and across the web. The new sites are designed with phones and tablets in mind, and feature a fresh design for the computer screen as well, with photographic tiles that represent the various stories. When readers click a tile, it smoothly expands in place to the full article; so readers don’t have to deal with browser tabs, multiple windows, or the Back button.

Yahoo Food gives readers photos, recipes, stories on the top food trends, cooking tools, and new techniques.

Yahoo Tech is for people who want machines that work well, feel right, and don’t cost too much—but who don’t care about version numbers, chip names, and bus speeds. With features like Pogue’s Inbox, What to Buy Now, Unsung Features, Daily Meditations, and exclusive Kickstarter Reviews, Yahoo Tech covers not just what to buy, but also how to use it. Led by best-selling author, vice president of editorial David Pogue, Yahoo Tech features five daily anchor columnists: Pogue, Rob Pegoraro, Dan Tynan, Rob Walker and Deb Amlen; Daniel Bean, editor Jason Gilbert and editorial director Rafe Needleman; and writers Alyssa Bereznak, Brian Heater, and Ben Silverman.

Yahoo Smart TV

Yahoo Smart TV is the next evolution of Yahoo’s award-winning Connected TV platform already used in millions of households today. Yahoo Smart TV offers interactive viewing with highly personalized program recommendations from TV, Video on Demand, and Web services, along with complementary content related to the show. The Yahoo Smart TV platform is available immediately for integration into televisions, media players and set-top devices. Yahoo Smart TV is currently being demonstrated at CES, powered by Sigma and AmLogic reference platforms.

The New Yahoo Advertising

Yahoo announced its new, unified suite of digital advertising products for premium and audience-focused display, native and search advertising, which are accessible through a new buying platform.

Included in the announcement are three new products and platforms:

Yahoo Audience Ads: a better way to buy ads targeted to specific audiences. Yahoo Audience Ads deliver the right messages to the right users across Yahoo and other high-quality sites with the scale and targeting precision of real-time programmatic buying;

Yahoo Ad Manager and Yahoo Ad Manager Plus: a new buying platform that gives advertisers direct, hands-on access to Yahoo’s advertising products;

Yahoo Ad Exchange: a new global ad marketplace that gives premium publishers more visibility and control over advertising on their sites.

Tumblr Sponsored Posts Powered by Yahoo Advertising: The company also announced that Tumblr Sponsored Posts now leverage Yahoo’s technology to offer enhanced targeting, improved optimisation and a new way to buy. These features are available among Tumblr’s existing suite of advertiser offerings, which provide brands the ability to share striking, fun creative work that is seamless to the Tumblr experience. Additionally, Tumblr is introducing a cost per engagement (CPE) pricing model, which means that advertisers are only charged for active engagements with their content – reblogs, likes, follows or clicks made directly from the sponsored unit itself. – Gadget.co.za

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