Not to be out-done by the radical makeover of Microsoft’s Hotmail, Yahoo! got a facelift and added new features.

You don’t have to start in a Yahoo! email account to see what’s new. Their new site, Pulse.Yahoo.com, aims to be your starting place for everything you do on the web. The home page looks something like Twitter, with short comments from your Yahoo contacts in 255 characters or less. But unlike Twitter, it has links to just about everything, including email and news.

If you give the site permission, you can view your Facebook friends there. Click “apps” and watch the video of the day, play poker, find gas prices in your area, etc. Click on “blog” to start a blog, or “photos” to share photos. “Trending topics” at the top of the page tell you what’s hot right now. There are also links to email, news and sports. Search “apps” to add other games and news sites to your page.

We were surprised to see a long list of comments from friends who use Yahoo mail. These are people we normally don’t hear from.  We learned that an acquaintance named Ellie was playing bridge in the online “Intermediate Lounge” and we clicked to join her there.

The site is getting kudos because you can set privacy settings to be sure you don’t share more than you wanted. (Go to pulse.yahoo.com/privacy.)

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