Yahoo kills a dozen more products to sharpen its focus

The AltaVista search engine is one product getting the boot

Yahoo is slimming itself down again by axing 12 of its products, part of an ongoing effort to sharpen its focus on services it thinks people need in their daily lives.

The list includes AltaVista, the granddaddy of search engines, and Yahoo RSS Alerts. The other products, including Yahoo Axis, Citizen Sports and Yahoo Browser Plus, are less well known.

"Today we're shutting down a few products so we can continue to focus on creating beautiful products that are essential to you every day," said Jay Rossiter, executive vice president of platforms at Yahoo, in a blog post Friday afternoon.

Yahoo ditched numerous other products in April, such as Deals and SMS Alerts, touting similar goals around "sharpening our focus."

Here's the full list of services being killed off, in order of their planned closure dates: Yahoo Axis, a browser plug-in (June 28); Yahoo Browser Plus, a service for Web app developers (June 28); Citizen Sports, a sporting news and stat service (June 28); Yahoo WebPlayer, a media player for websites (June 30); FoxyTunes, a plug-in for controlling different media players (July 1); Yahoo RSS Alerts (July 1); Yahoo Neighbors Beta, for helping people find out what's going on in their neighborhood (July 8); AltaVista (July 8); Yahoo Stars India, a celebrity news aggregator (July 25); Yahoo Downloads Beta, an application for third-party downloads (July 31); Yahoo Local API, which gives developers access to local business information (Sept. 28); and Yahoo Term Extraction API, for extracting terms and keywords from websites (Sept. 28).

With AltaVista soon officially no more, Yahoo is encouraging users to visit the regular Yahoo Search page. Earlier on Friday, it announced a new feature for setting up search alerts.

Yahoo is highlighting other products to help fill the gaps elsewhere. Citizen Sports may be gone, but Yahoo says people can still get the latest sports news on the Yahoo Sports homepage, play fantasy sports like Fantasy Football, and stay up-to-date on the go with its mobile Sports app.

In recent months, Yahoo has said it's focused on products and services geared toward daily habits, such as email, weather, sports, finance and photos.

In some of those areas it's not doing badly. Yahoo's new mobile weather app, for instance, has a 4.5-star rating in Apple's App Store, based on about 4,000 reviews.

During the company's annual shareholder meeting earlier this week, CEO Marissa Mayer said she likes to think of Yahoo as a big startup.

"We are making investments, and we're going to continue to make investments, because that's what drives growth," she said.

Yahoo recently paid more than US$1 billion to buy social blogging site Tumblr.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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