Business Today

Yahoo! Redux

The new Yahoo Mail sports a cleaner interface and several upgraded features. Should you sign up?
twitter-logo Nidhi Singal   Delhi     Print Edition: July 30, 2017
Yahoo! Redux

As Verizon's acquisition of Yahoo drew to a close, Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's former CEO, reportedly remarked that she looks forward to "using Gmail again". She later clarified in a tweet that she would "continue to use the excellent Yahoo Mail too". It's true that Yahoo Mail had been in desperate need of a revamp. And it got one on June 27, 2017. Yahoo Mail's 225 million monthly users opened their email accounts to see an uncluttered design and improved functionality.

The company claims that with this facelift, every part of the interface is 'faster and more reliable' particularly for slower connections. The new Yahoo Mail can recognise different screen sizes and its responsive design is quick to adapt, keeping the key elements of the interface unchanged.

While the update has breathed new life into the otherwise dreary email service that Yahoo Mail was, it remains to be seen if it can challenge the supremacy of Google's Gmail which crossed the one billion monthly active user mark last year. We put the newer features of Yahoo Mail to the test. Remember that you can switch back to the classic mail if the revamped version does not impress you.

Design: What strikes you first about the revamped Yahoo Mail is how clean and organised it looks - soft layout and ample spacing. Like Gmail, it allows you to personalise the inbox using various themes. When making a change under the settings tab, the interface responds instantly, reflecting the change in the background, without having to come to the landing page to view it. Glancing through emails is a breeze as they are clubbed according to the date under headers such as Today, Yesterday, Last week, etc. The ad panel on the right can be distracting. Getting rid of it comes at a price - by subscribing to Yahoo Mail Pro. Another option is to download the Yahoo Wider Mail extension on Google Chrome.

Smarter attachment preview: This is perhaps its best feature. Unlike Gmail where attachments open over the current view or in a new tab, in Yahoo Mail, you can preview them side by side. This is really handy when opening emails with multiple attachments, especially when you are looking for something specific. There is also an option to hover over the image icons to preview photos, documents, etc., attached in an email. But this did not work in our case.

Search: Looking for an old mail in the Yahoo mailbox used to be a tedious task, whereas Gmail, with enhanced search functionality, aced it. Yahoo, too, has come of age. Search results in the new Yahoo Mail appear in the same way as specified in the 'viewing email' settings. For instance, if conversation mode is the default setting, search results will appear in that mode. There is a 'Smart Views' option that appears on the left which houses multiple folders such as Important, Unread, Starred, People, Social, Shopping, and more. As per the company, the new 'Photos and Documents' viewing option will allow you to conveniently browse through all the attachments ever sent or received. When the cursor hovers over an email, the search icon 'searching messages from this sender' appears which fetches all emails received from the particular email id.

All-in-one Mail: Although not a new feature, it is worth mentioning that Yahoo allows you to link multiple mailboxes - including Gmail, Outlook and AOL - within Yahoo Mail. This means that one need not open multiple mailboxes on different tabs; just switch between Gmail or Outlook within Yahoo Mail itself. When configuring, Yahoo Mail fetches all the folders and services as created and subscribed to in Gmail. This helps keep a check on incoming emails. Searching Gmail mails on Yahoo Mail was a let-down though. The search option failed to fetch many emails from the Gmail account. Other than email accounts, one can sync social apps such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and connect to storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive through Yahoo Mail. Unlinking these accounts can be done easily from Yahoo Mail's settings.

Yahoo Mail Pro: Earlier, Yahoo had priced its Ad-Free Mail at $49.99 per year. Now, it has introduced a new ad-free service called Yahoo Mail Pro priced at $34.99 per year or $3.49 per month. The mobile-only version of the product for Android or iOS can be subscribed to for $0.99 per month or $9.99 per year. This service is currently available in English to users in the US only. Yahoo plans to roll this feature out in India in the later part of 2017.

Yahoo Mail App: The app, available for iOS and Android, can be used to log in to Gmail, Outlook (Hotmail), AOL and Yahoo accounts. It offers a neat interface, just like the web client. One can customise notifications - opt for receiving notifications only for emails received by a person and not a company or newsletter and such. The interface of the app lets you switch easily between multiple accounts and also access Smart View folders to quickly filter emails based on categories such as people, social, travel, finance, and others.~


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