09 January 2014

Yahoo acquires Aviate, focuses on context and content on mobiles

Can Marissa Mayer make Yahoo more relevant at a time where mobile usage is skyrocketing and consumers are bombarded with information? The jury is out but several initiatives give her a chance: New digital magzines and apps for easily digestible content.

The reinvention of Yahoo continues and it’s all about surfacing content on mobiles. The comany announced several app and digital initiatives Tuesday at CES including the purchase of Aviate, a contextual-based mobile app. Yahoo is also creating digital magazines and aims to help information overload through a new Yahoo News Digest app for mobiles.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer introduced the initiatives with a clear emphasis on mobiles. All of the most-used mobile activities think mail, video, photos, news and weather are NOW the pillars of Yahoo. Of course, there’s the potential for information overload, so Yahoo is introducing a new Yahoo News Digest application.

The app provides a news summary twice a day: morning and evening. Content comes from various sources and is powered by Summly, which Yahoo purchased last year. In addition to the news, readers can see related “atoms”: videos, infographics, relevant Tweets and more.

Also helping to provide focused content are new Yahoo Digital Magazines. These web-based periodicals were created in-house, with the first two being Yahoo Food and Yahoo Tech. The interfaces allow for all content on a single page with stories that expand so readers can pick up the next stories when finishing one. David Pogue and a number of industry writers will create content for Yahoo Tech, which launches today. Weekly columns will be supplemented with daily news, device reviews and tech solutions.

The purchase of Aviate is surprising; not because of what the app does, but by how quickly Yahoo nabbed it. Aviate is still in private beta; the app is a home screen launcher that changes what apps are available based on context such as location or time of day. Yahoo is expanding the beta to 25,000 more people who use the code “Yahoo” to get the app.

Yahoo’s mobile and content focus make sense to me. Mayer has stepped in to lead a company without focus at a time where mobile content consumption is rapidly rising. Although smartphones and tablets are hot now, Yahoo expects 3.8 billion mobile devices in use by 2017. By creating original content and curating useful information from the outside, Mayer is giving people a reason to use Yahoo again.

Now read: Facebook is no longer cool in the eyes of teenagers: EU survey


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