Yahoo! Unveils! New! Mail! Service!
Text messaging for the uncoordinated
You can now use Yahoo! Mail to swap text messages with mobile phones. If you're living in the right country.
With the popular web-based mail client approaching its tenth anniversary, Yahoo! has unveiled a shiny new version that trades texts with any cell phone in the U.S., Canada, India, and the Philippines.
We send our apologies to the UK.
The new Yahoo! Mail was announced early this morning on the company's official blog, Yodel Anecdotal. Yes, Yodel Anecdotal. Company VP John Kremer told the world that he now has a better way to communicate with his kids.
"My kids, like most, love text messaging. But while their nimble fingers can easily navigate cell phone keypads at lightening speeds, I definitely prefer a full keyboard, and am much more inclined to use email than text messaging," Kremer wrote. "[The new Yahoo! Mail client is] sure to come in handy for people like me who want to keep in touch with text-crazy friends and family."
Texts are free when sent through certain wireless carriers, but others will charge a fee. You'll have to check Yahoo!'s help pages to find out which carriers want money for messages and which don't.
The texting tool is certainly the most glamorous addition to the new Yahoo! Mail, but there are other new features worth trying - even if you live outside those four text-friendly markets.
Most notably, the face-lifted client includes built-in IM, previously available in beta. "The all-new Yahoo! Mail also lets users send and receive instant messages in real-time to their friends who are logged into Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Messenger or Windows Live Messenger, without ever leaving the e-mail experience," Kremer continued. "You can even switch between emailing, instant messaging, and text messaging as your friends come online or go mobile." You can choose your means of communication simply by selecting a name from your contact list.
What's more, you can now drag and drop messages from folder to folder. And you'll find a beefed-up search engine, which lets you search by sender name, folder, date, attachment type, and more.
There's one other new feature, but it's only available in the U.S. The American client now has the power to recognize dates, addresses, and proper names, linking straight into Yahoo! Calendar, Yahoo! Maps, and Yahoo! Search.
According to a Yahoo! spokeswoman, the new client - which also offers new color themes - will be rolled out to 25 markets worldwide "in the coming weeks."
But you needn't upgrade if you don't want to. Yahoo! will continue to offer its old Mail interface to dial-up users and other people living behind the times. "Our goal is to provide the best email experience for everyone, whether that be familiar and comfortable or new and shiny," Kremer said.
According to research firm comScore Media Metrix, Yahoo! Mail is the world's most popular web-based client, with 254 million users. But Microsoft's Windows Live Hotmail is just behind with 224 million.
Yahoo!'s client turns 10 in October. This spring, in anticipation of the milestone, the company decided to give unlimited free storage to each and every user. AOL, the world's third most-popular client, has followed suit, but Microsoft and Google have yet to pull the trigger. ®
Hurrah for PR
I love El Reg to bits - been reading it for years.
However, I'm getting really sick of publicity being punted as 'news' on The Register. I've worked in IT and I've worked in PR and I can recognise a bloody press release when I read one.
Oh, and DO STOP doing that infantile thing with exclamation marks every! time! you! mention! Yahoo!
"...without ever leaving the e-mail experience,"
I really wish someone would stick a cork in some these jumped-up buzzword-fuelled marketing peons. Email experience? Please. Jumping out of an aeroplane is an experience. Seeing Jimi Hendrix live in concert is an experience. Heck, nearly getting hit by a bus is an experience. Checking my emails is perhaps the most tedious task I have to undertake (and I'm in charge of swapping out our backup tapes, a frighteningly boring task) and does not qualify as an experience.
Not really gmail wannabe
Actually, IIRC Yahoo mail was the first one to offer something over 5 Mb; the inbox was 100 Mb around the time Gmail announced its 1Gb. This was on the time Hotmail insisted on keeping measly 2Mb, and most free services were around that limit.
Hotmail, by the way, alienated U.S. users by only upping them to 250, and non-USA users even more by NOT giving them anything at all, remaining with 2Mb. By the time they pulled their heads off their asses, most had switched to Gmail. Hotmail's now 5Gb, but most people still with Hotmail accounts only use it for MSN Messenger.
And Yahoo! well... I don't even have that much of a contactlist there ...