RIYADH: Yahoo! Middle East launched on Tuesday a new homepage that brings together the best of the Web with the best of Yahoo! Maktoob in a single destination across all devices in Arabic and English.With the new homepage, Yahoo! Maktoob’s 32 million users can easily add applications — from Yahoo! or virtually any other site on the Web — and access them from any device so that their favorite content, services and experiences are always at their fingertips.“Internet usage in the Middle East has grown more than 1,000 percent since the year 2000 and shows little sign of slowing. With the launch of our new Arabic and English homepage we aim to provide the millions of Internet users in the Arab world with personally relevant content, making Yahoo! Maktoob the center of their online lines by connecting them to the people and things that matter to them,” Rich Riley, senior vice president and managing director of Yahoo! Europe, Middle East and Africa, told the press conference at the Fours Seasons Hotel.
Riley pointed out that Yahoo! has become a popular website with 650 million users from all parts of the globe.“There are some 32 million users in the Arab world and six million are from the Kingdom,” he noted, adding that the Kingdom has some 11 million Web browsers out of which 50 percent use Yahoo. He also said that the Kingdom has the largest audience for Yahoo in the Middle East.“With the launch of the new homepage, we are positive that we can increase our revenues from advertisements since the potentials are high in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region,” said Riley.Since Yahoo!’s acquisition of Maktoob in November 2009, the company has maintained its commitment to strengthening and supporting locally relevant content on the Internet, combined with the best tools and services from Yahoo! properties.Yahoo! Maktoob offers all of Yahoo!’s popular applications plus a choice of applications connecting users to virtually any site on the Web, from Facebook to Helwa. It also provides users with engaging local and global content for news, sports, entertainment plus much more, which can be tailor-made to each individual’s taste.“The new homepage is an opportunity for online users to have all their content personalized, tailor-made and adjusted to suit each individual’s preferences,” said Ahmed Nassef, vice president and managing director of Yahoo! Middle East. For example, he said, if someone is an avid football fan and regularly reads about football within the Yahoo! Maktoob News and Sports section, the homepage will recognize these habits and will display the latest football relevant news the next time this person visits.
“If, for example, the online user then changes their browsing habits to only read information about basketball, the home page will recognize this and will start presenting basketball-relevant information,” he added.Yahoo! Maktoob’s homepage gives online users one place to access the people and things that matter to them most in both Arabic and English. For Arab countries excluding the UAE, users who access the yahoo.com website for the first time will be redirected to maktoob.yahoo.com in Arabic, and for those that visit Yahoo.com from the UAE, will be redirected to en-maktoob.yahoo.com in English from mid December. Once users visit the website for a second time, the homepage will automatically take them to their preferred page, either yahoo.com or Maktoob.yahoo.com. Users will also be given the option of switching between sites with the Maktoob link at the top left or right of the page, depending on which language the site is in – Arabnews