Yahoo! has, for some time, been preparing a new homepage for launch. It's been extensively tested in closed betas and endless Q&A sessions, and finally it's here for your eyes.

Well, if you live in the US, anyway. An opt-in public beta has begun, which will be extended to the UK, France and India later in the week. When you log in you get the choice of whether you'd like to keep the old version, or try the new one.

Yahoo!'s calling this "the most fundamental change to the homepage ever". The look and feel has changed a lot, adding a "My Favourites" area on the left hand side - for quick access to various apps. There's also the ability to create your own widgets for sites you like.

You can also update your Facebook and MySpace statuses direct from the Yahoo! homepage, though Twitter isn't included yet. "It marks the beginning of a renaissance of Yahoo, a renaissance where every pixel matters", said Tapan Bhat, Yahoo!'s SVP of Integrated Consumer Experiences.

"It involves bringing users along and also rewiring everything within Yahoo. Now, we are looking at Yahoo holistically, all centred around the user". The new design is due to go live in the UK later in the week, we'll keep you posted on that one.