The New My Yahoo Service: A Good Alternative to iGoogle

The days of the home page may have faded in recent times, with the death of services like iGoogle, but that does not mean nobody wants this type of functionality any longer. There is still a place for the ability to centralize all of the things you care about in one location, making it a breeze to check news, sports results, weather, email and more.

Yahoo, as opposed to killing this feature as others have been doing, is choosing to move in the opposite direction, announcing that it has been busy revamping and improving its My Yahoo home pages for all customers who wish to take advantage of the service. In fact, the search company actually is holding out open arms to welcome disenfranchised Google users.

As you can see, there are a number of options to choose from – over the years, Yahoo has purchased countless services, including some very popular ones like Flickr. But customers can also integrate rivals such as Gmail into the brand new My Yahoo site. Upon first visit you can simply click “Get Started” – there is nothing to do here, it is only a splash page.

The new version even allows for the import of iGoogle, raising memories of other dead Google products, most recently the much lamented Reader.

The first thing you will be prompted for is to choose a background theme for your new page. There are ten images to pick from, but sadly no option to upload your own image. From this same dialogue you can also decide on a layout – two, three or four columns, and you can choose some interests, such as news, sports, technology, travel and several more.

my-yahoo-get-started

Click “Show my page” and you will be presented with your home, but there is still customization ahead of you. So far you have only taken care of the most basic of options.

At the top right you will spot three buttons – Add content, Choose themes and Edit layout. This is a good place to start, but still is not all you can change.

The initial choices you just made during setup are slim and may have had you wondering if that was all you could get. The answer is no, and the “add content” button is where you will want to head to.

Categories are spread down the left column, while the options contained in each appear in the main window. Ones with a check mark are already enabled. If you wish to add another the simply click its Plus button. Strangely, once you have enabled an app from here, you can not click it a second time to disable. Instead, if you change your mind, you must exit this box and remove the app from the My Yahoo page by clicking the gear icon at the bottom right and choosing “remove” – you will be prompted to confirm your decision.

my-yahoo-add-content

As the name implies, this simply a way of changing the background image of your custom homepage. The same choices presented earlier are present, but there are a number of additional ones as well. Sadly, there is still not an opportunity to upload your own custom image.

This is virtually no different than it was from earlier. It’s simply a way to change your mind if decide add or subtract columns from your page design.

my-yahoo-edit-layout

As previously mentioned, each app shows up in your homepage as a separate tile, a similar concept to the Windows 8 Start page, and each has a gear icon at the bottom. Clicking this icon provides an option for removing that particular tile, but all provides a way of editing the settings for that particular item. You can choose between viewing it in either full or compact mode. You also get your choice of how many items you wish it to display – anywhere from one to ten.

Many tiles, such as Yahoo News, contain a “Read More” link at the bottom. Clicking this will whisk you away to the main page for that particular service, be it news, sports or something different.

Some tiles, like the sports scoreboard, contain a dropdown menu at the top, allowing to choose from options such as trending, NFL, MLB (in the scoreboard’s case) and others.

What if you do not like the layout of the items on your page? That is an easy change, as well. For instance, let’s say I would like to see my weather at the top because its important to me, and I don’t wish to scroll down to locate it. Simply locate a blank area of tile and move your mouse pointer over it. The arrow will become a plus sign with little arrows pointing in each direction. Now you can click and drag the tile to your desired location.

my-yahoo-moving-tiles

By default your page is named “My Main Tab” (it’s at the top left). Click on it to change the name. You can also click the plus button to create an additional tab, providing the opportunity for you to arrange tiles by categories however you wish.

As with any Yahoo property there are tiny icons at the top right for your account and email and a search bar across the top center of the screen.

Yahoo has been making a number of changes since Marissa Mayer took over as the CEO. The new My Yahoo is just one of the ways the search giant hopes to win back its audience. The page is sleek and elegant looking, it loads quickly and has a lot of functionality and potential to become even more useful as additional features get added.