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
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific