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Yahoo! Revamps Search, IM and Mail

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 13 comments

Yahoo! has rolled out changes to Yahoo! Search, Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Messenger, including some new social networking features.

Over the last few months, Yahoo! has made a number of improvements to both its online products and the way things are run behind the scenes. This week, the company announced that in conjunction with the recent changes made to the Yahoo! Homepage, the company is redesigning Mail, Search and Messenger.

First up is Yahoo! Mail, which is getting new multi-select, drag-and-drop functionality designed to make attaching images much easier. Yahoo! has also upped the photo and filesize limits from 10MB to 25MB. Photos aside, the company is also going to start filtering your important emails from the other junk you get on a day-to-day basis. When you log in, you get a small panel that only shows you mail from your contacts. From there, you can move along to your inbox, which will show you all of your mail. Of course, Yahoo! has also made things a bit more social. The new and improved Yahoo! Mail features a new panel called 'Updates' which shows you "what your friends areĀ  sharing online." It basically brings all your Flickring, YouTubeing, and tweeting friends' actions to you.

Next up, Yahoo! is introducing Yahoo! Messenger 10, which features high quality video calling. You can also change the language before you sign in, which will change all your menus from English to whichever language you've selected. Lastly, enter that 'Updates' panel that made its debut in Yahoo! Mail. Again, twitter, and Flickr updates (among others) along with the ability to IM a friend about a specific update.

Finally, Yahoo! yesterday said the company is currently testing a new search results page that "ups the ante on personal relevance." As well as providing new tools for refining results (e.g. explore related concepts or narrow down your search to only include people or videos), Bryan Lamkin SVP of Yahoo! Applications said that the company is also putting in place technology that will try to figure out what you're searching for based on your previous searches. If you search for 'cat' and then 'jaguar', Yahoo! will show you the animal and not the car. The improvements to search are currently only being tested with selected users. No word on how long it will be before we all have the chance to try it out.

You can read more about all these changes on the Yahoo! corporate blog here.

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  • 1 Hide
    frozenlead , August 25, 2009 4:47 PM
    Maybe I'd think about using their software if I didn't already know that when I did, my computer would become infested with (Y!)'s at every possible opportunity I could see one.
  • 5 Hide
    vladtepes , August 25, 2009 5:28 PM
    Nothing beats Gmail's FREE IMAP
  • 0 Hide
    Dave_69 , August 25, 2009 5:30 PM
    Software? I thought it ran in your web browser only...

    I say too little too late. Yahoo ought to work on INTEGRATING some of those other's services, instead of trying to create REPLACEMENTS.

  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 25, 2009 5:35 PM
    why all the hype with gmail??? not that good to me...
  • 0 Hide
    virtualban , August 25, 2009 5:35 PM
    I like the 25 M filesize :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Dave_69 , August 25, 2009 5:45 PM

    For me, the appeal of gmail is free POP3 and IMAP. Yahoo! (spoken loudly, because, you know, there's an exclamation point in the name) charges something like $20/year for it.

    And I've had better luck with gmail's spam filters. I've been a customer of yahoo since 1997 and gmail since 2004.
  • 4 Hide
    stradric , August 25, 2009 5:56 PM
    doctorpinkwhy all the hype with gmail??? not that good to me...

    The interface whoops on even the best standalone apps like Outlook. The "threaded" messaging feature is absolutely beautiful. Combine that with free IMAP and POP3 support, support for importing your contacts from other web mail services and your OS of choice, integration with other google services like calendar and 8GB and growing free space. What's not to love? It's easily the best free email service out there and arguably better than paid apps like Outlook.

    Oh, and you get a google search to find old mail.
  • 2 Hide
    Dave_69 , August 25, 2009 6:00 PM
    stradric is right. I forgot to mention google calendar integration. I sync my Outlook calendar at work with my google calendar, and then push my google calendar to my blackberry - Blackberry Enterprise Server ($50/month) avoided! All I have to do is set up Google Calendar Sync to run every hour or so, and I'm golden. I saved my company tons of money doing it this way, and they thanked me for it.

    Doing this with yahoo costs money.
  • 0 Hide
    Dave_69 , August 25, 2009 7:36 PM
    I have also noticed a significant decrease in load time since Yahoo started integrating all these add-ons. Gmail is still near instantaneous to load for me. Also, gmail's conversation threading is, in a word, brilliant. I wonder why the others haven't started doing that. Is that functionality copyrighted?
  • 0 Hide
    Dave_69 , August 25, 2009 7:37 PM
    Oops, I meant significant "increase" in load time...

    I need another beer.
  • 0 Hide
    hemelskonijn , August 25, 2009 7:47 PM
    I would try yahoo if they made all yahoo pages minimalistic.
  • 0 Hide
    Dave_69 , August 25, 2009 7:55 PM
    hemelskonijn, you mean you don't like those blaring netflix ads in your face? Again, upgrade to mail "Plus" for $20/year, and they'll remove much of this... Hm... I sense a pattern here.

    All gmail does is hit you with a non-intrusive, bland-looking ad down the sidebar which can quite easily be hidden if you go a-searching for a script. Actually, I have found several of the ads quite helpful in the past.
  • 0 Hide
    onsiteone , August 27, 2009 2:00 PM
    When I hear Google, I think of their superb search and Gmail webmail. When I hear Microsoft, I think of Windows and Office. When I hear Yahoo, all I can think of is how it costs $$ to do pop email (or is that free already?), and how that exclamation point after their name makes reading news articles about them a bit annoying.