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Yahoo! sneak peeks revamped Mail

'Completely re-architected'

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Yahoo! has unveiled new incarnations of its Mail, Search, and News services, each due to reach US users sometime this fall.

Speaking Wednesday morning at the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, new chief product officer and former Microsoftee Blake Irving said the company has resolved to update its vast array of online tools much more quickly than it has in the past, and the three products demoed today are just the first steps down this path.

"You're going to see things from us over the next year and half, three years, five years, that will feel a lot different than the way we've done things in the past," Irving said. "We're going to be iterating much more frequently."

The new Yahoo! Mail will offer a new interface and a new back-end, Irving said. It will offer "enhanced" video, photo sharing, search, instant messaging, and SMS tools. And it will integrate with both Facebook and Twitter, letting you view and update those social networking services from your mail inbox. Yahoo! clams 281 million Mail users, and it says that a beta will roll out to all users as an opt-in service in the next few weeks.

Irving claimed the new Mail is up to 50 per cent faster than the current service. "It's been re-architected from the ground up — from the infrastructure to the UI," he said. "This is a substantial change in the service."

The Search service will offer enhanced results for searches involving movies, music, news, and, well, celebrities. This involves embedding stuff such as videos, songs, and slideshows in a new box at the top of the results page, above the standard results provided by Microsoft Bing.

The revamped Yahoo! News is the first service built atop Yahoo!'s back-end "Content Agility" platform, a single, global platform that houses all of the company's online content. "All of our articles from all of our properties from all around the world go into one massive publication grid," said chief technology officer Raymie Stata. "It's kind of like a web crawl but much more heterogeneous." This will allow Yahoo! to roll out News services across the globe with the same code base, and the entire global News platform will arrive sometime over the next few weeks.

Irving also said that over the next three years, Yahoo! wants to ensure that one hundred per cent of its users visit the site while logged into an account. Currently, about 50 per cent of users log in on a monthly basis. ®

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