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New Yahoo Mail Beta

by Shivaranjan on January 30, 2006


I had a chance to preview yahoo mail Beta service as I am their Mail Plus customer.

Q: What is Yahoo Mail Beta???

A: The long-anticipated new service features a new interface more like that of a desktop e-mail application and faster response time. Among the features are e-mail caching; message preview; drag-and-drop filing, an integrated RSS feeder, and the ability to view multiple e-mails at the same time in separate windows and scroll through all message headers in a folder rather than one page at a time.Bloggers who were chosen to participate in the beta seemed excited, and mostly had positive things to say about it. One complaint, however, is that it takes awhile every time you load.

So I will be posting some screen shots of the new yahoo mail beta which I got to try.

What CNET has to say about New Yahoo Mail Beta.

“Yahoo has sweeping changes in store for the tens of millions of people who use its free Yahoo Mail. The major face-lift to this popular Web-based service makes checking and managing messages about as fast and painless as what desktop e-mail apps offer. Indeed, Yahoo Mail Beta looks more like Microsoft Outlook, Eudora, or Thunderbird than any online e-mail service. Yahoo hopes to merge the ease of use of a desktop e-mail client with the go-anywhere convenience of a Web-based e-mail account. With that aim, Yahoo last year bought and integrated Oddpost, an AJAX-based business e-mail service. AJAX is a blend of JavaScript and dynamic HTML that allows mail servers to grab and cache chunks of data in random order. In other words, e-mail messages appear faster because you no longer have to wait for an entire page to reload. And unlike Gmail, Yahoo Mail Beta doesn’t target ads based on the content of your messages–a blessing for those who want to keep their e-mail private. If you want to give Yahoo Mail Beta a spin, visit Yahoo’s Web site to add your Yahoo Mail account to the waiting list. As of our review date, Yahoo Mail Beta is available to only a limited group of testers. For pictures of the Yahoo Mail Beta, view our slide show

Upside: Yahoo Mail Beta is sleeker, faster, and smarter than its predecessor. The new interface resembles that of Microsoft Outlook: folders appear in the left pane, message lists are in a top pane, and a collapsible reading pane is in the center. Once you get an invitation to try the beta, just switch to the new interface by clicking a link within Yahoo’s welcome note–no download necessary. And Yahoo Mail Beta looks and works the same in both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox Web browsers.

We had almost given up on our classic Yahoo Mail account, letting thousands of unread messages pile up. But we look forward to using the new drag-and-drop feature and message flagging to organize that forgotten content. The new search system within Yahoo Mail Beta, accessible through the upper-left corner of the interface, can even inspect the text within message attachments.

Downside: Users who are happy with their classic Yahoo Mail may dislike the drastic changes. During the beta testing, at least, you can freely alternate between the new and old interfaces. Yahoo would be wise to allow the same flexibility with its final release so that users can get up to speed. Yahoo Mail Beta is noticeably faster than other Web-based e-mail services, but we received an error pop-up several times when messages took more than several seconds to load. After we clicked the message header again, however, the e-mail body appeared without a glitch. Also, unless you constantly click on the in-box, new messages automatically appear only every 10 minutes. We ran into some other minor letdowns, such as the lack of a spelling checker for Firefox; you’ll have to enable pop-ups for the spelling checker to work in Internet Explorer. And unlike Microsoft Outlook, you can’t collapse folders or create nested subfolders. Nor does Yahoo Mail Beta make it possible for you to read your messages offline. The ground-up renovation of Yahoo Mail is radical, but as of our review date, we didn’t find dizzying new features, such as an improved calendar or a built-in RSS reader, just the face-lift.

Outlook: Yahoo Mail Beta’s makeover should make disgruntled Yahoo users think twice about switching to another service. Graceful, swift, and respectful of your privacy, Yahoo Mail Beta makes a gracious e-mail host. Privacy advocates worried about Gmail poking its nose into the content of your messages for targeted advertising will appreciate Yahoo’s hands-off approach. Against Yahoo Mail Beta, Gmail looks intrusive and ho-hum, while Hotmail seems like a Stone Age service. Desktop e-mail providers may also worry about losing customers. We’re looking forward to seeing how rival e-mail services will scramble to catch up. We wonder if the final release of the updated Yahoo Mail will manage RSS feeds, as Oddpost did, or if it will better integrate with other Yahoo services, such as mapping and photo sharing, or with Yahoo Instant Messenger with Voice.”

Now watch the Screen Shots of the Yahoo mail Beta

Screen Shot 1

Screen Shot 2

Screen Shot 3

Screen Shot 4

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