Yahoo! on Monday completed a major new version of its popular Web email service, Yahoo! Mail. The company has been working on the update for over a year, and says that it will be rolled out to all 250 million of its users in the next six weeks.
"We have always been focused on making it easy for people to connect to those who matter most to them, and during the beta testing period of the new Yahoo! Mail, we were able to incorporate a number of enhancements based on valuable feedback from our users," said Yahoo! vice president John Kremer. "Now, with the all-new Yahoo! Mail, we're creating a more social e-mail experience."
The new version of Yahoo! Mail faces a different competitive landscape than the one in which in the original Yahoo! Mail emerged in October 1997. Since then, Google's popular Gmail service has appeared and Yahoo!'s main competitor, Microsoft, has completely revamped its Hotmail service, now rebranded as Windows Live Hotmail.
The new Yahoo! Mail, however, is the most dramatic of the three, with a desktop email application-like user interface and a number of unique new features. Some of these features--like the ability to send cell phone-compatible SMS text messages--were not revealed until Monday. Yahoo! also differentiates its Web email service from Gmail and Hotmail by offering unlimited storage space for email messages.
Users who are accustomed to the old email interface, now called Yahoo! Mail Classic, can opt to continue using that interface if they find the new one too daunting. Both the new and Classic versions of Yahoo! Mail are available for free.