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Mayer: Yahoo's future is personalization for content, ads

Yahoo CEO outlines that the company's mobile strategy will be centered on "daily habits."

Rachel King Staff Writer
Rachel King is a staff writer for ZDNet based in San Francisco.
Rachel King
2 min read

SAN FRANCISCO --The future of Yahoo will be providing personalized user experiences both on mobile and the desktop, according to the company's chief executive officer, Marissa Mayer.

Speaking at the 2013 Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference this morning, Mayer offered another glimpse into the search company's evolving mobile strategy, which will include some consolidation for the existing product portfolio.

Marissa Mayer
Marissa Mayer James Martin/CNET

"The core of Yahoo's business is to personalize content," affirmed Mayer. But within that content, she continued, is also advertising, which she said can improve the experience when done right.

Mayer suggested that smartphones offer a better glimpse at user context (i.e. where they are, where they have gone in the past) better than anything else.

She explained simply that if users are willing to make that data available through signing up with a mobile app or logging into a service, then Yahoo can use that information -- with permission, she specified -- and deploy it in a way that makes sense to the individual user.

While Mayer touted some of the more consumer-related features and partnerships (i.e. Facebook, ABC News) funneling content, she briefly hinted at some potential business use cases, highlighting that mobile devices are much more "ideal" for group communication and collaboration.

But while Mayer repeatedly discussed new growth opportunities for Yahoo -- especially when it comes to mobile -- she acknowledged that there will need to be some trimming too.

Citing that Yahoo has 200 million monthly active mobile users, Mayer also noted that the Cupertino, Calif.-based corporation has "a scattered product portfolio" with "somewhere between 60 and 75 mobile apps."

Mayer admitted that some of those apps will "go away" because "they don't make sense for us" and some don't have enough users on them. She added that the goal is to narrow that portfolio down to just 12 to 15 apps.

However, Mayer refrained from naming any specific apps or products that might be affected.

To get an idea of where Yahoo might be making cuts and consolidating resources, Mayer said that Yahoo's product portfolio is reflective of Internet users' "daily habits." That includes e-mail, online news, checking stocks, and more.

Remarking that search -- Yahoo's backbone -- is integrated with all of this, Mayer said that Yahoo will be working heavily on the design of Yahoo's products and interface for both mobile devices and PCs.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "Marissa Mayer: Yahoo's future is personalization for content, advertising."