Yahoo! Freshens its mail client

New Yahoo! Mail

New Yahoo! Mail
Yahoo is not asleep at the email wheel – it’s no longer the first pick it once was, but still manages to bring out new features and better functionality in it’s every-few-years update cycle. This iteration is a winner, although the best features need a premium subscription.

I like Yahoo Mail, and in theory there are some 284-millions users who agree with me, though many users will admit to creating numerous alternate accounts from different service providers as a trial or as an email backup facility.

Yahoo tends to unveil revamped iterations of its mail service every couple of years. It’s newest version, available in 26 languages and 43 markets, incorporates a number of meta-services that can be accessed and maintained from within the mail client. Users can respond to their Facebook friends from within Yahoo, they can view slideshows and videos, and they can also store files via ZumoDrive (called My ZumoDrive on the Yahoo menu), allowing for a limited capacity of free cloud data for easy transferability. Users can also choose to install ZumoDrive on their hardrive for more convenient file uploads and downloads, though I found this experience an exercise in frustration.

Yahoo’s Calendar has always worked well for me: it syncs accurately with my desktop iCal and iPhone calendars, and has some useful reminder and note-taking functions. According to Yahoo chief product officer Blake Irving, “Yahoo’s vision for online communications brings together all the tools that people use to connect – email, chat, SMS, and social updates – and makes it easier for them to share content and engage in conversations with the people that matter most to them.” And that includes updated client that’s mobile phone friendly.

Is any reason to change to Yahoo based on their current iteration? Probably not. If you’re using Gmail, you have most of these functions incorporated into your own email service already (Picasa, Docs, superb Android compatibility), but Yahoo’s willingness to continually freshen up its interface and update its features has not gone unnoticed. What I like most about Yahoo’s interface functionality is its ability to handle multiple tabbed email messages, meaning I can have a dozen email messages open at the same time and switch back and forth between them just like tabs on a standard Internet browser.

Perhaps YahooMail’s greatest pitfall is that it requires a premium, paid-for subscription to make use of it POP/IMAP facility. So if you’re wanting to use Outlook or Thunderbird with you Yahoo account you’ll need fork out the equivalent of $20 a year for the privilege. This also erases any adverts on your interface and allows for the creation of disposable addresses that can be used when you want to send mail without alerting the sender to your core email username. These disposable addresses can be deleted at any time.

All in all, YahooMail is a better and less cluttered service than the other big players in the mail service provider segments. But that’s only if you’re willing to pay for premium service: I find the disposable addresses function particularly useful, and it’s cut down on the amount of spam messages I receive enormously. Whether you think it’s worth paying $20 a year for the privilege is the million dollar question.



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