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The Brand-New Yahoo Mail Goes Live for Everyone


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The revamped Yahoo Mail interface previewed last month is now available in beta form for everyone. The Yahoo Mail Beta is available to users worldwide and promises a speedier interface and a number of new features like social networking integration and even a "Priority Inbox" of sorts.

"If you follow our blog, you've heard about Yahoo! Mail Beta and seen a sneak peak of the new product. Today, you will get the chance to try it yourself," David McDowell, Sr. Director of Product Management at Yahoo Mail, announced.

"I'm pleased to announce the release of Yahoo! Mail Beta, which delivers a faster, safer and more social email experience," he added.

Yahoo Mail Beta sports a brand-new, slicker interface inspired from the Yahoo Mail app for the iPad or smartphones. While the layout is pretty much unchanged, it looks cleaner and feels lighter.

Apart from the visual revamp, Yahoo says the new webmail client should be considerably faster, two times as fast than the version it will be replacing, and even faster in some regions thanks to better use of Yahoo's cloud.

The new beta continues Yahoo's drive to integrate as many functions into the client. Besides the obvious email features, Yahoo Mail enables users to chat with their friends via the embedded Yahoo Messenger or send text messages. Both these modules have been improved.

Twitter has now finally been integrated into Yahoo Mail, a move that's been in the works for many months. Users will be able to read their streams, but also post their own tweets or retweet existing ones. Yahoo already enabled users to keep up with their Facebook friends.

The search features have been redesigned. There is now just one search box and you can switch between searching through your emails and a web search.

Another new feature is the possibility to view Flickr or Picasa slideshows or YouTube videos right inside Yahoo Mail, if you've been sent a link to them.

Finally, Yahoo Mail also introduced a feature that highlights emails from the people you've included in your address book. It's not as smart as Google's Priority Inbox, but it should provide a better experience.

Since this is the first roll-out, you can expect more improvements along the way. And since this is Yahoo, which is still offering the original Yahoo Mail interface, more than a decade old, you can expect it to stay in beta for a while, though, probably less than how long it took Google to get Gmail out of beta.



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Yahoo caught the redesign bug and gave Yahoo Mail a big makeover.

More than ever, Yahoo Mail emphasizes sticking around, with Facebook and Twitter status updates, separate tabs for instant messaging and more sources for photo and video slideshows. The service also got a facelift, now decked out in Yahoo's deep purple color scheme.

wA6lb.jpgHere's a side-by-side view of Yahoo Mail's new look and its old version.

Let's take a closer look at these features:

Performance: Yahoo claims that its mail is now twice as fast. I can't measure this reliably, but I do like how quickly you can switch between the "What's New," "Inbox" and "Contacts" tabs. I'll also lump Yahoo Mail's improved spam protection into this bullet point, but you'll just have to take the company's word for it.

More Social: Facebook was already integrated with Yahoo Mail, but now Twitter is available as well, allowing you to post and read status updates directly from the "What's New" page. Unfortunately, Yahoo was having problems linking my Twitter account, but I can see that this is a nice way to get some quick status updates on multiple networks. Yahoo Mail also lets you break SMS messages into separate tabs in a single pop-up windows, which you can drag around the screen.

More Slideshows: Yahoo Mail turns Picasa and Flickr albums into slideshows that you can view directly within the mail window. This is a great feature that works as advertised -- clicking "View Slideshow" darkens the surrounding screen and opens a large window for photos, which you can then enlarge to full screen. However, the new YouTube integration is a little sloppier. When I got an e-mail with multiple video links, they were shown separately rather than as a single slideshow. Still, it's only a little less clumsy than Gmail's presentation.


Better Search: When searching through your inbox, you can now filter out e-mails with seven kinds of attachments, including Office documents, PDF files, photos, videos and music. Gmail, by comparison, still doesn't let you specify what kind of attachment you're looking for, but it still has one big advantage: You can narrow down Gmail searches to a specific date range.

If you use Yahoo Mail and aren't seeing the beta, just hit this link to get it immediately.

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