SAN FRANCISCO: Nearly 400 million people use Yahoo mobile applications every month, according to CEO Marissa Mayer.
Mayer confirmed that the company has seen a significant increase in the number of people regularly using Yahoo mobile applications since she joined the company, during a keynote session at Dreamforce 2013.
She said the increase is a consequence of a strategic shift within Yahoo to become a mobile-first company. "At first I think mobile caught a lot of people by surprise, and when you look at the history of Yahoo it wasn't clear at first how they were going to move to it," she said.
"But then we thought about it and took a group working on it that had originally only been between 30 to 60 people, and increased it to 400. This helped us get serious about mobile applications and now we have almost 400 million monthly mobile users."
It is currently unclear how large an increase the 400 million figure represents. At the time of publication Yahoo had not responded to V3's request for comment on what its mobile user base was before Mayer joined the company.
Mayer said the move to mobile in many cases saw the Yahoo team redesign every application and service from the ground.
"I think we have an amazing design team at Yahoo. They've done a fantastic job redesigning every product over the last year," she said. "We've fixed 100,000 things in the space of a year and created apps people want to use."
The Yahoo chief said the shift saw the company redesign its applications' interfaces to be as user friendly as possible. "You shouldn't design for the expert users. You should make products that only take a couple of days to completely understand and use. You need to break it down to the core essence of what the users need and design it around that," she said.
"When you design for the expert users, it becomes too sophisticated and puts new users off. If you design for the experts you're going to get a confusing interface."
Mayer said she expects the mobile shift to help Yahoo regain some of its overall market share from key competitors such as Google.
"We think of ourselves as mobile first. We think of ourselves like this as if you look at mobile in the context of our industry, it's a wave big enough to ride. With Yahoo we're doing a platform shift to mobile to take advantage of this," she said.
Mayer joined Yahoo in 2012, and the company has seen a marked turnaround since. As well as helping to improve Yahoo's financial fortunes Mayer has also made her efforts to be more transparent about the company's involvement in the notorious PRISM scandal.
Yahoo was one of the companies the US National Security Agency (NSA) gathered web user data from during its PRISM campaign. Since news of PRISM broke, Yahoo has taken several measures to help protect its customers' data. Most recently Yahoo confirmed it will begin encrypting all information that moves between its data centres from the first quarter of 2014.
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