Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) announced that its new search ad platform, is now available to advertisers.

The Sunnyvale-Calif. based Internet company said on Tuesday that U.S. businesses of all sizes can sign up online to begin marketing their products and services through the newly designed system.

By giving companies the right tools, visibility and environment to create highly effective search marketing campaigns, Yahoo's senior vice president Steve Mitgang said, Yahoo! is connecting businesses to consumers more effectively than ever before.

The new system, formerly code-named Panama, will be the first upgrade to firm's ad service system since it purchased the current system from Overture in 2003. Panama will now address geographic and behavioral targeting to connect advertisers to customers, as well as more intuitive tools and other features.

Company executives hope the new system will bridge the gap between itself and rivals Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) - both of which have unveiled search platforms more advanced than Yahoo's in recent months.

Panama is the most obvious and anticipated catalyst for improved financial results at YHOO, said Rob Sanderson of American Technology Research. In research released in November, the analyst described Yahoo's new market place design as low-hanging fruit for increasing monetization, pointing towards the second quarter of 2007.

Shares of Yahoo climbed 37 cents, to $26.86 in Tuesday afternoon trading on the Nasdaq exchange.