Yahoo unveils new toolbar for Web browsing

SAN FRANCISCO Mon Dec 15, 2008 6:28pm EST

A South Korean surfs the Web at an Internet cafe in Seoul in this February 25, 2006 file photo. REUTERS/You Sung-Ho/Files

A South Korean surfs the Web at an Internet cafe in Seoul in this February 25, 2006 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/You Sung-Ho/Files

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Yahoo unveiled a new toolbar on Monday that will give Web users access to their e-mail as they surf the Web, the latest step in its strategy to make its products more open to users and third parties.

Firefox, Yahoo, Microsoft and others make toolbars -- small strips that sit atop Web browsers -- to give users quicker and easier access to Internet functions.

The Yahoo toolbar available later this week will allow users access to a selected group of programs from the toolbar without leaving the page they are on.

For example, users get notifications of new e-mails on the toolbar and can open them. The Internet company also showed off a newly styled in-box, which combines social networking functions and also allows users access to third party programs.

Yahoo has about 275 million users of its e-mail. Its portal relies on advertising and the company says it has an audience of more than 500 million consumers.

As is usual with Yahoo, the changes are being phased in slowly and later will be rolled out for all of its users.

The company is continuing to pursue its open strategy as it is in the middle of a transition. It is looking for a new chief executive to replace Jerry Yang, who has resigned. It also has notified 1,500 employees that they are being laid off.

(Reporting by David Lawsky; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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