The new Yahoo home page, which was previously in private testing, is now available to anyone using IE or Firefox (up to version 1.5) at yahoo.com/preview. There are a number of cosmetic changes, including a wider page layout, a bigger search bar, and intelligent use of Ajax to make the page more interactive (mouse over “mail” in the right sidebar, for example). More on the Yahoo Search Blog.
Key changes include a “personal assistant”, which is a preview area to see recent emails, an online friends list from Yahoo IM and other information (traffic, weather, etc.). They’ve also launched Yahoo Pulse!, “a window to the attention stream of our estimated half-billion users”.
Richard MacManus has a podcast with Yahoo Chief Product Officer Ash Patel and Vice President of Front Doors Tapan Bha about the launch.
Screen shots of the new and old Yahoo pages: