My Yahoo start page gets new beginning

Beta version of revamped personalized home page is available for now to a limited number of members.

Yahoo announced Thursday a new beta version of its My Yahoo personalized start page, which it will begin gradually rolling out over the next few months.

Only a limited number of Yahoo members will be able to opt into the beta until the full version becomes available. Yahoo is touting a variety of more sophisticated customization and control tools: users can drag and drop modules for news, weather, games and the like; choose from a broader range of themes and backgrounds; and roll over pop-up previews to display additional information. The overall template has been expanded to four columns, which according to Yahoo is to accommodate more content.

Yahoo is also highlighting the new sharing features in the My Yahoo beta. These allow users to share either specific components of their start pages--like news stories and games--or the customized page's entire contents. Sharing is accommodated via e-mail with a drop-down form that does not require leaving the original page.

Beta testers will have access to a pre-created My Yahoo page based around other Yahoo services that they use: members who use Yahoo's shopping services, for example, will see a shopping module, whereas members who spend time playing Yahoo Games will see more games widgets. The beta's interface has been designed to better synchronize with the look and feel of the main Yahoo home page, as well as Yahoo's mobile service.

The revamp of My Yahoo, an early player in the personalized home page market, comes amid increased competition: one of its own executives last month, and Google released an updated version of its on Wednesday.

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