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September 14, 2006

The New Yahoo Mail, Slowly Released

Yahoo has finally decided to release the new Yahoo Mail Beta to the public in the US and other 18 countries. Although Richard MacManus reports that Yahoo launched the new mail yesterday, there's no official announcement from Yahoo and it's likely that they'll slowly invite people to use the new version.

Since my review from January, there aren't too many changes: Yahoo Mail still has 1GB of space; it loads faster, but it still reacts slowly when using the interface; there are many graphical ads and huge animations that distract you from reading your mail; the spam filter has been improved, but it's still inferior to Gmail's spam protection.

The new Yahoo Mail wants to look like a desktop application, an online version of Outlook. It has tabs, so you can compose mail, search and read mail in the same window. Every view shows the entire list of mail, so you don't have to click "Next" multiple times until you find a message. The window has a preview pane so you don't have to open each mail. The contact list is slick, it has an instant search feature, but you don't have use it when composing messages because Yahoo autocompletes email addresses. The feed reader doesn't have an import option yet, but it looks nice: you can customize the font and text size, forward posts, so reading feeds is more pleasant than reading mail.

Because Yahoo's users are more conservative, the new Yahoo Mail doesn't include mail threading, so you can read conversations in context and it still uses folders instead of labels. Search is almost inexistent: there's no advanced search so you can't search for that important mail sent to you in June, there's no word matching so if you search for "cop" you'll find "copy", "copyright", "Copenhagen". There's no preview for attached documents and the settings section looks the same as last year (ugly and cluttered).

Ethan Diamond, director of product management for Yahoo Mail, talks about the product and he's very excited that Yahoo Mail is the most used webmail service with 255 million users, while Gmail comes in fourth place with only 49 million users. Well, in this case, the most popular service is not the best.


  1. Frankly, since your last review, I've been finding WL Mail better and easier to use and Y! Mail Beta getting only worse. There was a time when Y! Mail Beta was faster, more responsive, easier to use, and more attractive than WL Mail. Not anymore.

  2. Now that I've discovered "Google Apps for Your Domain" and the ability to use the Google mail client with your own domain name as the email address I've really grown to admire it. Of course it's still in Beta and goes down on occasion, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm VERY impressed with what Google is doing. GOOOOOOO GOOGLE!!!!!!!!

  3. Ionut, you have forgotten that Gmail is invite-only so 49 Million is very impressive against 255 Million.

    If Google removed the invite system when it was initially released (or even if it does it now), Gmail would surely match it (or come close)

  4. I didn't forget that, but you can get an invite using a mobile phone in US, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey. Gmail is a public beta in Japan, Australia, New Zealand.

  5. Yes you can invite yourself, but the purpose of the invites being tied to your cell phone is that they are trying to minimize the number of accounts people have. I would argue that there are nearly as many PEOPLE using google's 49 million accounts as using yahoo's 255 million.

  6. I made the mistake of switching to "Beta." Biggest mistake of my life! I cannot move the window around the screen -- up or down... and it covers so much of the screen! No doubt to make room for ads. I did not want to view an ad for free credit there was no close button. The typing is delayed. I have to wait and wait before the letters appear.I am going crazy. I need to write emails in real time, not with seconds of delay. Even deleting is in slow motion.

  7. I hate it! I cannot use my mail because SOOO slow and it give me errors all the time suggesting that I upload a file from my computer!!
    The typing is delayed. I have used Yahoo mail for several years but I'm at the point of switching to Gmail if i cannot return to the regular version.
    Can anyone say if I can even do this - and HOW?

  8. My Gmail seems to work great as well as my yahoo. Seems some computers are just slower than others. It's always nice to hear from those who are having success rather than the ones with bad experiences.