On March 24th, at the exquisite Ritz-Carlton hotel in Dubai, Yahoo Maktoob announced the launch of its revamped homepage along with other exciting news. The company’s top executives for the region were on site to make the announcements including Dawn Airey, Senior Vice President – EMEA, who stated during her chat session, “Yahoo is not just mail; it’s not just search. It’s everything”. And that it is. Yahoo Maktoob presented itself as a complete technology source and that was evident from the moment guests entered the building. I was particularly impressed with how Yahoo handled registration. There were two registration stations outfitted with laptops, monitors and a card printing machine. With little to no waiting, customized, plastic badges were created and assembled for each guest on the spot. But that was just the beginning. Yahoo Maktoob succeeded in taking guests on a technological journey with stations dispersed throughout the venue to test drive all of the company’s latest advancements.
The New Homepage
First, Yahoo Maktoob announced the launch of it’s new homepage. It was described as having an elegant, personal, intuitive design for both its English and Arabic editions in the Middle East and Africa region. The new Yahoo Maktoob experience is a smart design that is intuitive, functional and optimized for easy, everyday consumption. It’s also fast and consistent across PC, tablet, and smartphone. The newly designed homepage is in line with SVP -EMEA Dawn Airey’s declaration that “Yahoo Maktoob is about making daily habits inspiring and entertaining”. Additional features of the new homepage include:
- New real-time feed, letting you experience a virtually endless feed of news articles
- The stream of news also offers a ‘save for later’ functionality
- New utilities that highlight our daily habits and spotlight the latest information from Yahoo Weather, Finance, Flickr and more; and that can be customized for each user
- Cleaner design that’s easy to navigate
- Ease of use with the familiar search box, quick links to Yahoo Maktoob properties and the ever popular Today Module
- More information in less space (surfacing headlines and summaries in an easy to read snapshot)
Yahoo Maktoob has secured a deal with Jose Mourinho to be the Global Football Ambassador for 2014. Winner of two UEFA Champions League titles and seven domestic league titles in four different countries, the self-proclaimed “Special One” will share his always entertaining views and uncompromising insights on the Premier League, World Cup and much more.
Yahoo Maktoob also announced a partnership with leading producer of original video content in Saudi Arabia, UTURN. Starting in April, Yahoo Maktoob will launch a UTURN channel under its video platform Yahoo Screen, featuring UTURN’s new productions throughout 2014, including a leading comedy series, a library of UTURN’s best video content, and exclusive content that includes behind the scenes videos.
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This partnership extends UTURN’s reach to Yahoo Maktoob’s large user base of 60 million monthly users across the Middle Eastern region, and is the latest addition to its premium video offering.
App’d Up: New and Refreshed Apps
Yahoo Maktoob unveiled its new Arabic football app. Key features of the new application include live and full coverage of ongoing regional and international championships, information about matches such as timings and locations, game stats and minute by minute updates including goals, penalties, and fouls, and an ability to post and share all this info instantaneously Facebook and Twitter.
Adel Shehadeh, Product Manager, Yahoo! Maktoob said: “When we looked at sports apps that target our region, we saw that there’s a real opportunity to deliver a rich Arabic application that can satisfy the appetite of sports fanatics whose love for the game is a big part of their daily habits, and who want to be able to keep up with their favorite teams and matches at all times.”
The Football application is not the only shiny, new offering from Yahoo in the app stores. The company’s award-winning Weather App and the refresh of Flickr and Yahoo Mail also dominated yesterday’s event. There were live stations set up for guests to interact with the apps. Check out some of the attendees getting up close and personal with Yahoo apps below.