Yahoo pins hopes on new features in 2009

Yahoo needs to address branding and awareness issues if it is to come near rival Google in popularity for searching the net, travel industry figures have warned.

Despite one of its missions for 2009 to be the starting point for search, delegates at a recent conference questioned why it is not as prominent as Google.

Many felt they were “tripping over” the search rival in their working life, but not Yahoo.

Other delegates pointed out that some of the names within the Yahoo stable such as Flickr were not necessarily associated with the search giant because they had kept their own identity.

The goal to be the starting point for search was revealed by a team from Yahoo, speaking at the Travel Technology Initiative’s Winter Forum, earlier this week.

Yahoo travel category director Tracey Cheffey said the company was developing a new front page to act as the starting point of the ‘search experience.’

“The left-hand side will provide access to Gmail, Yahoo mail, AOL mail etc. so you have all your mail accounts in one place. It will also provide links to Facebook, eBay and news feeds. It’s about pulling the best of the web into one place.”

Yahoo’s senior director of business development Ken Hart added that the company also planned to concentrate on “doing a few things really well” such as its new homepage and mobile developments.

“You are going to see some deals where Yahoo is the only search engine with mobiles. We could do a better job of communicating these things but it takes time.”

* Presentations from Travel Technology Initiative

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