Yahoo has been the subject of a lot of recent news as the company works to find their place in a changing market. Yahoo is continuing to refine its search capabilities, as the recent changes in their agreement with Bing suggest, but the companies is also working to refine their product offerings and better align them to consumer demand. As part of a second quarter report, Yahoo announced several changes to mobile and desktop offerings, such as discontinuing certain elements of Yahoo Maps.
For business owners and marketers who didn’t know Yahoo had a map service, this is part of the reason for the product’s planned discontinuation at the end of June 2015. The Yahoo Maps site will close at the end of June but on Yahoo search and several other Yahoo properties, like Flickr, Yahoo will continue to support the map functions. According to the company, the decision was made “to better align resources to Yahoo’s priorities as our business has evolved since we first launched Yahoo Maps eight years ago”.
Another big change will come for users on older iOS systems. The company will no longer support Yahoo Mail on the built-in Mail app for devices prior to iOS 5, starting next week. People use iOS 4 & earlier will have to access their Yahoo Mail via the Safari mobile browser at mail.yahoo.com. Though this may be annoying for the small percentage of users still on older iOS systems, but it allows Yahoo to focus more resources on the functionality of Yahoo Mail on the latest systems.
“At Yahoo, we continue to focus on our key product pillars: search, communications and digital content,” wrote Chief Architect Armotz Maimon in a bog announcing the changes. “Part of that focus includes taking a hard look at our existing products and services, and ensuring our resources are spent smartly and with a clear purpose. Ultimately, we want to provide you with the best products, platforms and experiences possible.”
The focus on digital content will mean a shakeup for international audiences. Yahoo will still create the same kinds of content, but they will shut down some of their regional, genre-specific media properties in an effort to streamline their digital content and editorial offerings.
Specifically, this means that Yahoo Music in France and Canada, as well as Yahoo Movies in Spain, will shut down in mid June. Similarly, at the end of June, we will close Yahoo TV in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Canada as well as Yahoo Autos in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
In Asia, Yahoo is shutting down the entire Yahoo Philippines homepage and genre-specific media sites. The content won’t entirely disappear. Rather, users will be redirected to the Yahoo Singapore homepage. But even the lucrative Singapore market will see changes because in early July, Yahoo Entertainment in Singapore will also close.
Last on the current chopping list in Yahoo Pipes, a tool for data mashups. The company says Pipes creation will not be supported as of Aug. 30 this year. The Pipes infrastructure will run until Sept. 30th to help developers migrate their data.
These may seem like drastic changes, but they are necessary if Yahoo wishes to focus resources on the features that work the best for their audience. It will be interesting to see how Yahoo is able to improve their search, mobile and digital content offerings with these freed up resources.
For more information about the effect of changes at Yahoo, read this article on some benefits of the recent Firefox/Yahoo deal.