CES 2014: Yahoo rebrands Nick D'Aloisio's Summly app for mobile-news focus

Series of announcements by CEO Marissa Mayer strengthen Yahoo's focus on mobile products and creation of media content

Yahoo has announced a major new development for Summly, the news summary app created by British teenager Nick D’Aloisio and purchased by the American company for $30m last year.

Summly will now become Yahoo News Digest, a free app offering two daily news briefings, each offering nine summaries of stories aggregated from across publishers across the web.

Each article is illustrated with ‘atoms’; media content that expands upon the story and can include snippest from Wikipedia, videos and images, and tweets or infographics.

D’Aloisio took to the stage with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to announce the new app, saying that the stories would be “ algorithmically produced, but editorially curated,” and describing the result as the “perfect blend of technology and journalism”. The app will also monitor how many stories users gets through each day, and score their progress in order to encourage reading.

Nick D'Aloisio said the goal of Yahoo News Digest (above) is "to make sure you're always in the know."

The new app is part of Mayer’s continuing overhaul of Yahoo and is an example of the company’s new focus on mobile products and media content.

Mayer joined the company in July 2012 after spending 13 years working for Google. Her tenure has included a number of high-profile acquisitions and has also seen Yahoo's stock price rise by more than 100 per cent.

Alongside Yahoo News Digest, Mayer also unveiled two new digital magazines: Yahoo Tech and Yahoo Food. The sites will be powered by Tumblr’s blogging platform (purchased for $1.1bn in May 2013) and will take their content from Yahoo News.

However, Mayer stressed that the new direction was about more than aggregating content from other sources, and has recruited several big names from the US media to generate original content and boost Yahoo's profile online.

Yahoo Tech is being led by David Pogue, a former technology columnist for The New York Times whilst former CBS News host Katie Couric will be joining the company as a ‘global anchor’.

Couric also came on-stage at CES and praise the company for its pursuit of “real journalism”, bemoaning that “accuracy has been the casualty of immediacy" and that "linking has replaced reporting”.

Pogue, meanwhile, has outlined Yahoo Tech's focus on clarity, promising that the site will be "jargon-free": "The first language we are going to speak is called English; it's called human."

These new initiatives will be supported by Yahoo's expanded focus on 'stream ads' - messages from companies that appear in content streams alongside users' posts. Both Facebook and Twitter have already achieved sucess with this model and Yahoo has begun to replicate it with Tumblr's Sponsored Posts.

Despite this, the company's ad revenues have slipped over the past year. Analysts will learn more once the company reports its fourth-quarter earnings later this month.

Video: New gadgets at the CES 2014

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