Yahoo joins battle with Google after EU revamp

New-look website aims to increase its popularity and win users from giant rival

Yahoo has renewed its assault on Google by overhauling its European search engine, a move that executives are calling a "major milestone" in the group's development. Yahoo's shift to a more personalised home page, its biggest revamp in three years, comes amid talk of Yahoo going into partnership with Microsoft to take on Google.

Eden Zoller, an analyst at Ovum, said the redesign was "clearly an attempt to close the popularity gap" with its larger rival and that the site was popular with users. However, she warned: "This is positive but not enough to turn Yahoo's fortunes around."

The new look enables users to unite Yahoo's home page, containing news, mail, search and mobile services, with their favourite websites, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter and email accounts. It is gambling that the personalised touch will increase its advertising revenue. The company described its redesigned website as similar, in essence, to the applications tagged on to the Apple iPhone.

Rich Riley, the head of Yahoo Europe, said: "This is the most significant change in our evolution so far. It is no longer just a page, it is an application. One size fits all no longer works".

Yahoo had an ambitious plan to become the "centrepoint of people's lives online", he added.

The testing site went live yesterday and will launch fully in the autumn, accompanied by a marketing blitz. Yahoo said the primary objective was to further increase its audience in the EU. In March, Yahoo's European site had more web traffic than the US version for the first time. Mr Riley added: "This big launch in the region will only accelerate that momentum."

Yahoo was the fourth most popular website in the UK in May with 22.5 million hits, according to the data provider Comscore. Across Europe it was third biggest, with 121.6 million unique users over the same period and an 8 per cent market share.

However, Yahoo's site was used for only 4 per cent of internet searches in the UK in May, compared with Google's 79.3 per cent, ComScore said. In Europe, Yahoo's share of online search requests was even smaller – 1.5 per cent against Google's 81.4 per cent. Mr Riley insisted that internet searching was "a small part of what we do", adding: "Different consumers want different things. Some just want a search page. Others want it more customised."

As it seeks to make up ground on its bitter rival's iGoogle page, Yahoo has launched its Buzz site, which provides a newsfeed service to rival sites such as Digg, as well as an upgraded Yahoo Mail in the UK.

Ovum's Ms Zoller said: "The anticipated revamp has been generally well received but overshadowed by Yahoo's lacklustre second-quarter results and reports that its on-off talks with Microsoft are back on the table."

Yahoo's second-quarter profits this year were 8 per cent higher than in 2008 but its revenues fell by $200m, hit by the downturn slump in advertising. "This makes it even tougher than normal to grow revenues and market share, particularly when the main competition in the shape of Google is getting stronger," Ms Zoller added.

It was reported last week that Yahoo could be looking to sign an agreement with Microsoft, despite talks over a $45bn deal collapsing last year.

Ms Zoller said a partnership would be more effective than a merger, which would "create more problems than it would solve".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Financial Adviser

£20000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you recently QCA Level 4 qu...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Guru Careers: Application Support Analyst / 1st Line Support

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Application Support Analyst / 1st L...

Guru Careers: .NET Developer / Web Developer

£45K - £55K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a full stack .NET D...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence