In a move to compete against Gmail and Hotmail, Yahoo rolled out Yahoo Mail Beta on Wednesday for its 273 million users. The new interface promises faster, easier, safer and more social communications. But is it enough to ward off Gmail innovations?
Yahoo Mail users can opt-in to the new beta product to get the new features, which include easier navigation, inbox organizing tools, the ability to browse photos and videos, a better search tool for e-mails, and improved spam protection.
Users will immediately recognize the new interface, which remains consistent across desktop, mobile and tablet devices. Consumers will also notice that the beta version lets them connect with friends on Twitter and Facebook and offers enhanced instant-messaging and texting tools.
Designed for Social Speed
"Online communication tools are an important part of people's lives -- whether they're connecting with their friends and family, sharing pictures and videos, or keeping up on news across social networks," said Blake Irving, chief product officer at Yahoo.
Yahoo is hoping to leverage that trend with its new e-mail framework. Yahoo said the new interface was designed from the ground up for speed. The beta version is at least twice as fast as the current Yahoo Mail, the company said, and offers faster tools. The goal is driving productivity and making it easier to find what users are looking for and use third-party applications from the inbox.
One example is the social-media integration. Rather than logging onto Facebook and Twitter home pages, Yahoo wants you to stay in Yahoo Mail and share your status updates. Yahoo also wants you to stay in its mail service to instant-message and text-message people, browse photos on Flickr and Picassa, and watch YouTube videos from within e-mail messages. It's the one-stop-shop theory.
Keeping Display Advertisers
Rounding out the new Yahoo Mail Beta features, a new search tool leverages the company's search technology to help people quickly find e-mails. Search features allow users to navigate and sort search results by sender, attachment file, date or folder location.
"Yahoo Mail is one of the company's critical properties and a place where millions of targeted display-ad views happen, so it must keep users engaged and continuing to use the product," said Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence.
"Yahoo's Mail's social features are consistent with the company's efforts over the past several years to make the inbox more social and a kind of hub of social activity on the web," he said. "However, there's a danger that weighing mail down with too many features makes it less functional. In this case Yahoo has done a very nice job with this redesign and rebuild. It's cleaner and does seem faster than before."
Posted: 2010-11-04 @ 5:50am PT
I use Yahoo mail for most of my accounts on the internet and haven't had a problem with strange happenings until now. I have to agree that there seems to be more spam and more fake people wanting to connect with me every day. I have never met these people and am very selective as to who I let view my internet dealings weather it be social or busness.
Posted: 2010-10-27 @ 3:19pm PT
Why am I suddenly getting dozens of fake ".... wants to connect with you on Yahoo!" emails every day?
It's a Botnet, and it's been hitting practically all Yahoo! Services fairly hard, Gentle Asker.
Answers gets the most flagrant attack--with repeated spam postings of a Hostile IP Address that's a clear Malware Downloader site that's _clearly_ been designed to be a copycat, or a look-alike of Yahoo! Answers. Despite the flagrant Illegal Conduct (Hostile IP Address, Malware Downloader site, Copy and Paste Spamming acrosse _Hundreds_ of Multiple Accounts), Yahoo! Answers sees fit to do nothing to block or IP Ban the spambots, when they could do so easily. All they have to do is block and react to the _exact_ string of characters (letters, numbers, etc.) of the Hostile IP Address itself.
Yahoo! Mail seems to be under attack mainly because the Malware from this Hostile IP site is designed to find, use and exploit Yahoo! Mail with its Contact lists. There's also an element of this attack creating randomized botnet "Profiles" on Yahoo! as well. Again, Yahoo! refuses to pay proper attention to what's going on at their own site--this is not something that would be hard to block or screen out with administrator-level access to Yahoo! systems.
Likewise there seems to be repeated and flagrant spambots (bots who are programmed to send out the same copied-and-pasted spam message over and over again, usually in a modified, "hashed up" language that only vaguely resembles English, and is designed to avoid keyword searching) on other Yahoo! Services, like Yahoo! News (in the comments Area) and in Yahoo! Buzz (also in the comments).
Again, the big picture--the trend--is much the same: Yahoo! generally doesn't do much about it. The tendency is to leave it up to Users to report the abuse, and then demand that the Users _prove_ said abuse in detail (on Yahoo! News and Yahoo! Buzz comment postings) before Yahoo! itself does jack, diddley or squat.
I appreciate your patience with me so far...I'm just trying to work to the "why" component of your Question here. We all know about the "how" side of it--it's a pure numbers game, if you send out a million bots with the same Hostile IP Address, you can bet that two or three people out of that million will be dumb enough to click on the site and infect themselves....and once the computer is controlled by the botnet, another million bots go out...A Day.
I really do think the concentrated attacks on Yahoo! Services is unprecedented--not just in their number, but in the sheer depth of neglect Yahoo! Inc. itself shows toward it all. Yahoo! can pepper us with minor tweaks and upgrades several times a week--they have time to waste on the new "!" avatars for those without pictures--but then they can't be bothered to deal with a botnet? Huh?
I think this hints at "why". Anyone online who uses an anti-virus or anti-malware service (I use both) and takes their reporting functions seriously at all can figure it out: Most of the virus and malware attacks come from very specific places. China. India. Nigera. And nations of the Middle East.
Seriously. Look up the weblog of Malwarebytes.org, or the Forums of McAfee. They know their stuff and where this is all coming from--which IP Addresses are doing it, and where they come from.
Yahoo! could stop this botnet entirely tomorrow--but that would mean using a broad-based Domain Ban. Blocking all of China until their abusive conduct stops, for example. And they don't have the guts as a company to do that. Likewise, they could stop virtually _all_ of the trolling at Yahoo! Buzz and Yahoo! News, in the comments areas...but that would mean IP Banning specific _Businesses_ and deleting specific _Business_ accounts, since it's clear many of these trolls are using the same accounts and coming from the same places--the same employers.
And again, Yahoo! _Will Not_ ever do that. IP Bans never stick more than a month, and nobody _Ever_ deletes an account. Why? More of the numbers game. Yahoo! as business model is driven by ads--by the literal click-through rates on the banner ads they hit us with incessantly. Catch is, that model only works if you have a ridiculously inflated, high number of accounts--if you count everyone who has _ever_ used a Yahoo! Service ever, whether they're active or not, a separate person or not (or just a second or third account for one person). And why count the inactive accounts most sane people have long since left for dead?
Because Yahoo! itself can open them up, hack them and make bots out of them, specifically to drive click-through rates in an artificial manner and maintain profit margins.
There's your "Why". If Yahoo! itself cracked down on bots and botnets at the firmware level, its own system would catch itself cheating. Yahoo! would have to come clean about its own use of bots, tracking cookies and worse. They would have to admit to using some of the same methods the spammers use.
I hope this was helpful and thank you for your patience.
Sources: Mainly being a member and/or user of various Yahoo! Services since about 1998 (late '98, into '99).