Yahoo Mail Beta released - new Ajax features

Yahoo Mail Beta released - new Ajax features

Summary: Today Yahoo is releasing the new Ajax-powered version of Yahoo Mail to all users in the US and across 18 international markets. I spoke to Ethan Diamond, director of product management for the new Yahoo!

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TOPICS: Collaboration
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Today Yahoo is releasing the new Ajax-powered version of Yahoo Mail to all users in the US and across 18 international markets. I spoke to Ethan Diamond, director of product management for the new Yahoo! Mail, to talk about the product. Ethan was previously the founder of Oddpost, a pioneer in Ajaxian web email, which got acquired by Yahoo in July 2004 - so he is the perfect person to speak to when it comes to web email.

New Features 

The new features include an integrated calendar timeline (including mashups with Yahoo Maps), drag and drop e-mail organization, message preview, tabs for messages, plus an integrated RSS reader. There are also plenty of links to other Yahoo properties, such as this one just above the inbox: "Start your own blog here" (which leads to Yahoo360).

In my testing of the product, my favorite feature so far is a seemingly simple - yet surprisingly effective - one: the ability to have multiple e-mail messages open at the same time using tabs. Given that I virtually live in my email inbox and often am conducting a few email conversations at a time, this feature comes in very handy!

Runs like a desktop email app 

The new Yahoo Mail Beta will function more like a desktop client application - including using the traditional 3-pane view, having folders, drag and drop, and so on. Some would argue that web-based email requires a different UI paradigm than a desktop client - for example Gmail's "conversation view" and labels instead of folders are two features that I love.  

When I asked Ethan why Yahoo continues with the desktop UI paradigm, he told me that they've "taken the best parts of the desktop mail paradigm and applied them to the Web" and that users have become accustomed to those features in an email client.

Summary 

It's a slick web email product and the desktop UI does seem to work very well. Personally I'll stick with my Gmail though, as I've grown very accustomed to the Gmail UI paradigm ;-) 

See also: Ajax vs RIA - Ajax still rules; Best Web email service: Gmail; New Yahoo! homepage - more Ajax and personalization

Topic: Collaboration

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16 comments
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  • Yahoo! Beta cool, Gmail still faster/better

    I've been using the Yahoo!Mail beta for several months now. The improved features-- including tabs and the ability to select and drag mail to folders-- make it quite appealing.

    However, the appeal comes at a cost-- speed. In the "old" system, one could look very quickly at 200 or so messages and weed out what one wanted to get rid of very quickly. In the "improved" system, messages in folders scroll up slowly (while the word "Loading" appears for several seconds while the system catches up), and the number of headers one can view at a time is far fewer.

    So I'd say it's a toss up whether or how the system has been improved overall. More features-- yes. Better performance-- not yet.

    What's troubling to me is that Netscape (now AOL mail) and Hotmail (now Windows LiveMail) seem to be going in a direction similar to Yahoo! I hope that Gmail keeps its current platform-- which is fast, easy, and intuitive, and does not fall for the "cool factor" over the ease and performance factor.
    twbeosl
    • I agree

      Gmail's speed and interface rock! Why even think about using something else?

      http://opendomain.blogspot.com/
      opensourcepro
    • education

      pkkpm
      divyam
    • "improved" system

      http://www.analogstereo.com/infiniti_i35_owners_manual.htm
      yu_forum@...
  • Yahoo Mail Beta still incomplete compared to Old

    If you look closely at Yahoo Mail Beta, the Mail Options are incomplete compared to the old version.

    If you try to Empty your Spam folder or Trash manually, an alert popups. The old version provides an option to suppress this.
    EmDjPNvt46P
  • I'm afraid to look

    After the "improvement" that they did to the finance groups (rendering them useless) I'm glad that about the only thing I use Yahoo Mail for is a spamtrap.
    anonymous
  • Yahoo is still behind Google

    No one does web-based mail like Google.

    http://opendomain.blogspot.com/
    opensourcepro
    • No one does

      http://www.analogstereo.com/infiniti_i30_owners_manual.htm
      yu_forum@...
  • Classic static version of Yahoo Mail better than fancy dancy ajax version

    The new Ajax version of Yahoo Mail is too cluttered and not as simple to use as the Classic static version of Yahoo Mail. Gmail is better than Ajax version of Yahoo Mail.
    rh0
    • I agree...

      I've tried to use the Beta twice now and both times had to turn it off. If there's a way to mark a group of messages and then delete them I've yet to find it. Lack of this feature alone turns it from neet to junk.
      slopoke
  • It's pretty nice

    But, I'll stick with Gmail.

    Yahoo has really made an all out effort to put in the 'sizzle' and Ajax does play a key role here.

    What I notice, although this is a vintage laptop, is that it pushes the fan on alot, but I won't deduct for that!

    It's really another measure of just how far the browser can be pushed in providing new 'rich' functionality--what you'd expect from a Fat Client Desktop application!

    Have toggled the mail to the new beta style this point forward!

    Very Nice Yahoo. Very nice.
    D T Schmitz
  • Yahoo email beta

    Yahoo's technical achievements will be diminished realtive to market acceptance by the portal's loose policies when it comes to conrol of spam sent from its domain. I cancelled my premium Yahoo email account because during the months of July & August 2006 I received hundreds of spam email messages from yahoo.com accounts. Yahoo never responded to my complaints with anything more than a canned blurb about its so-called spam blocking software.
    djysrv@...
    • technical achievements will be diminished

      http://www.analogstereo.com/infiniti_j30_owners_manual.htm
      yu_forum@...
  • A list of the best free e-mail

    http://tiandrive.awardspace.com/email.htm
    collects all the best free e-mail services I ever know.
    Hope that the list is useful.
    tiandrive
  • A list of the best free e-mail services

    http://tiandrive.awardspace.com/email.htm
    collects all the best free e-mail services I ever know.
    Hope that the list is useful.
    tiandrive
    • best free e-mail

      http://www.analogstereo.com/infiniti_g20_owners_manual.htm
      yu_forum@...