Up Yahoo! Gearing for a Refresh of Both Email and Search Home page; May Consider Search Partnership with Google - U.S. Senator Rockefeller Warns Google, Microsoft, Yahoo 'Bait-And-Switch' Moving Scams

Yahoo's CEO Marissa Mayer shared her broad vision for the future of the Internet company with employees on stage at the Silicon Valley Internet company's URL's Café on its Sunnyvale, Calif., HQ campus.According to AllThingsD, Mayer didn't share specific plans for fixing search and email or an "in-process and dramatic home page redesign." She also […]

Yahoo's CEO Marissa Mayer shared her broad vision for the future of the Internet company with employees on stage at the Silicon Valley Internet company's URL's Café on its Sunnyvale, Calif., HQ campus.

According to AllThingsD, Mayer didn't share specific plans for fixing search and email or an "in-process and dramatic home page redesign." She also said little about what she is going to do with Yahoo's recent cash haul from its sale of part of its stake in China's Alibaba.

Mayer also tried to answer that age-old question of what Yahoo was/is/will be. Apparently, to Mayer, "Yahoo is a company that excels at personalization in its various arenas, from email to content to advertising." Her goals with Yahoo is "To grow users and usage, as well as advertisers and talent, using personalization."

Also up for a refresh is both email and also the critically important Yahoo home page. Both are being redesigned substantially to focus on consumer experience. People who have seen the mock-ups describe them both as more social and as more of a dashboard approach for users than the traditional catch-all portal.

Mayer has already ordered the removal of some ads from both Yahoo's email service and also its home page, cutting them back to improve the consumer experience. That's a dicey move since Yahoo makes a big chunk of change from those ads, especially on the home page, according to AllThingsD.

The new home page features links for key areas that Yahoo plans to double-down on, including Search, Mobile, and Social. It also has links to the reported 4 C's that are part of Mayer's goals for talent at Yahoo: culture, company goals, calibration, and compensation.

Similiar to Google's "+You", the first button on new Yahoo home page top nav bar is "You!" (f you are not logged in). Also, Yahoo is dropping the ® symbol from their logo.

Here is a mock-up of new Yahoo homepage (via):

Yahoo home page mockup

Mayer has been borrowing many ideas from her years at Google including a focus on product and data, free food in the cafeteria, and weekly "FYI" meetings like Google's "TGIF" meetings.

It is also reported that Mayer may reconsider Microsoft-Yahoo! search deal.

Apple, Google and mapping apps weren't the only thing that Eric Schmidt spoke about today in Tokyo.

Forbes is reporting that Google's Eric Schmidt at the Tokyo spoke about floating the idea of a Google-Yahoo search partnership. Dow Jones reporter Kenneth Maxwell was at the event, and shared this statement with Forbes:

"Yes, I can confirm, Eric Schmidt definitely said they'd be interested in working with Yahoo US. He also said nothing doing for the time being, but they would be interested. It was also mentioned to him that there is new management at Yahoo US with a Google connection. But he played it pretty straight…. He also said they had expressed this interest to Yahoo before on a number of occasions," Jones said.

In other Yahoo! releated news, the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation has written to all the major search engines in the United States "Google, Yahoo! and Bing."

The letters was sent to to Matthew Cutts at Google; Shashi Seth, SVP at Yahoo; and Microsoft's president of online services Qi Lu - asking them to examine how some moving services are using "bait-and-switch" tactics on customers who find them through search results.

Paragraphs from the letters (full letters embedded below):

In our review of hundreds of consumer complaints…they very consistently reported that they had found these Internet moving brokers after entering general search terms (e.g., 'Miami Movers,' or 'long distance moving Las Vegas') into an Internet search engine such as yours. In their attempt to shop for the services of a reputable moving company online, these consumers instead hired companies that misrepresented their services and caused them serious financial harm…

My staff has conducted a number of test searches using your company's search engine.

Frequently, Internet moving brokers identified in the investigation, which received high numbers of consumer complaints, ranked highly in the search results. Based upon evidence obtained through the investigation, it appears that some of these companies may be "gaming the system" in order to boost their search rankings.

These companies appear to be using paid links to inflate their popularity. For example, one company had tens of thousands of external links to its web sites and, upon closer review, these links proved to be largely irrelevant. They included abandoned blogs, link directories for unrelated topics, and college student groups and organizaiotns, such as the Cornell Gymanstics Club.

A Google spokesperson in a statement tells that updates it has made should be helping somewhat to righting this situation, stating (via):

"We make more than 500 improvements to our search algorithms every year to make them more useful, including a significant update this past April to combat practices like link schemes. We're always looking for ways to make it harder for scammers to trick consumers, so we appreciate the specifics the Committee provided. Senator Rockefeller's concerns point out how important it is that search engines continue to have the ability to constantly and quickly improve our results for our users."

Here are the full letters sent to Google, Microsoft and Yahoo: