By Jennifer LeClaire / CIO Today. Updated October 08, 2013.
Before there was Gmail, there was Yahoo Mail. Indeed, most of us probably have Yahoo.com e-mails floating around out there (and probably Hotmail.com addresses, too) whether we use them or not. Of course, millions are still loyal to the service.
Yahoo wants to keep its millions and woo new users to its domain and it’s investing resources into its web-based mail platform to do it. On Yahoo’s 16th birthday, the company is celebrating by making the experience more “intuitive” on the desktop, as well as iOS and Android mobile operating systems.
“We’re introducing ‘conversations’ for those who prefer to view e-mails grouped in threads,” said Jeffrey Bonforte, senior vice president of Communication Products at Yahoo, in a blog post. “At the end of the day, being able to see an entire conversation can save you quite a bit of time. Context is king.”
1,000 GBs of Storage
Bonforte said the company also worked to make Yahoo Mail more efficient. For example, activities you do all the time, like search, starring, and deleting, are now one-click actions that appear when you hover over an e-mail. And in a move to give you more breathing room in your inbox, you can collapse the left-hand toolbar to be more productive.
“Since it’s not a birthday without party favors, we’re making many features previously reserved for premium Mail Plus customers free. Disposable e-mail addresses, enhanced filters and automatic message forwarding are now available for everyone,” Bonforte said. “And if that wasn’t enough, we’re giving you a monstrous amount of storage, 1TB (that’s 1,000 GBs), so you have ample space for all your e-mails and attachments.”
On top of all that, Yahoo hopes to inspire Mail users by dressing up the inbox. The company is rolling out what it calls “visually rich themes,” including curated Flickr photos, for your browser, smartphone and tablet. You can choose a new photo theme in one place and it will apply across all your devices.
Fighting for Ad Dollars
We caught up with Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, to get his take on Yahoo Mail improvements and how they stack up in the web-based mail market. He told us Yahoo Mail and Flickr are the two legacy properties in which the company continues to invest. In fact, he said, Yahoo shuttered many of its fringe services in the name of placing bets on these two properties, as well as new services.
“Yahoo Mail still have millions of users. Owning the inbox is valuable in terms of ad serving and it’s a conduit for other services. It keeps people engaged and logged in. Even prior to this Yahoo had been differentiating with storage. Whereas Gmail has generous caps, Yahoo had gone with an unlimited version,” Rubin said.
“Yahoo is also integrating with Dropbox so clearly they are trying to position as a strong alternative. Last year, Microsoft overhauled Hotmail and transitioned it to Outlook.com. The larger web e-mail providers have all been investing in improving their services to stay competitive,” he added.
Yahoo Mail’s new desktop experience is available in English in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Philippines, Malaysia, India, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa with more countries and languages coming soon. The mobile apps are now available globally on iOS, Android and Windows 8.