Yahoo's Web site is unveiling a new look Tuesday as the Internet powerhouse strives to remain the world's most popular online destination and strengthen its advertising appeal.
The overhaul marks the first facelift to Yahoo's home page since September 2004.
The redesigned page, initially available in the United States and Europe at http://www.yahoo.com/preview
, includes more interactive features that reduce the need to click through to other pages to review the weather, check e-mail, listen to music or monitor local traffic conditions.
Another addition, called "Yahoo Pulse," offers recommendations and insights about cultural trends culled from the Web site's 402 million users worldwide.
Yahoo is making the upgrade as it battles for traffic with longtime rivals MSN, AOL and Google Inc. while also trying to fend off an intensifying threat posed by the rise of social networking sites such as MySpace.com.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo regards the latest changes as the most dramatic renovations made to its front page since the site's 1994 debut as a bare-bones directory developed by Stanford University students Jerry Yang and David Filo.
The most notable changes will allow Yahoo users to pull down interactive menus giving them snapshots of weather, traffic and movie information as well as providing instant access to the site's popular e-mail, instant messaging and music services.
Yahoo settled on the final redesign, code-named "Spirit," after months of testing with selected users. As another precaution, the new look won't show up as the default page of Yahoo.com for several more months.
Microsoft's MSN and Time Warner's AOL, the two most visited Web sites after Yahoo, also have tweaked their looks during the past year.
Although Google still provides a page featuring little else than its Internet-leading search engine, it also offers an option that enables users to customize the home page to suit their personal tastes.