Yahoo Mail adds AI to help you write and search for emails

The new AI can compose email drafts, assist you with searches, summarize incoming messages, and even find unused gift cards and discount codes among your emails.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor

The AI boils down to four different features: Writing Assistant, Message Summary, Search, and Shopper Saver.

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Move over Gmail. Yahoo Mail now has its own AI bot designed to help you write, respond to, and manage your emails. In a news release sent out Monday, Yahoo outlined the key areas in which the new AI aims to assist you if you're having trouble handling new or existing emails.

The new AI is currently in beta mode and only for Yahoo Mail iOS and desktop users in the US. To request access, browse to the Sign up page, enter your Yahoo username in the field for Request to join the beta, and click Next.

Also: Gmail will help you write your emails now: How to access Google's new AI tool

In my case, it took less than a day after submitting the request to gain access. Once you're on board, you can then try the AI, which boils down to four different features: Writing Assistant, Message Summary, Search, and Shopper Saver.

Writing Assistant

One new feature is a writing assistant that offers to compose new emails from your description or suggest replies based on your own writing tone and style.

To enlist the AI to create a new message, open the New Message window. For a reply to an incoming email, just open the message and click the Reply button. Click in the area below the notice that says: Write something below to create a draft.

Describe the purpose of the email and then click Create. For example, maybe you're looking for a bump in salary, so you describe the email by writing "I want to ask my manager for a raise based on all the projects I've completed ahead of schedule this past year."

In response, the AI displays a potential draft. If you like it, add any specific references necessary or make other tweaks and send it. If not, click one of the suggested options at the bottom to make it more polished, shorter, friendlier, or more formal. You can further revise the draft by selecting specific text, describing the changes you want, and clicking the Change button. When you're satisfied with the final version, send it.

Yahoo Mail Writing Assistant
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Message Summary

Another new AI option is the message summary, which offers summaries of emails highlighting dates, times, action items, and other information. Depending on the message, this feature will then suggest follow-up items such as tasks and calendar events.

The message summary is currently available only in the Yahoo Mail app for iOS. To check it out, just open any email that you want summarized. If that particular message is eligible, a Summary button appears. Tap the button to view the summary.

The Yahoo Mail iOS app offers summaries of selected emails
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET


Aided by AI, the search tool now accepts natural language queries. Rather than using abstract keywords and terms to find specific messages, you can simply ask a question or submit a request. Click in the Search field and type something like "Show me the latest message from Lance Whitney," In response, it should point you to the correct email.

Also: Google is beefing up AI-powered search on Google Chrome for iOS and Android

To take it further, ask the search tool: "Where does Lance want to meet on Sunday?" It will then retrieve the specific message with the right information. You can also narrow the searches by selecting advanced factors such as sender, subject, date, and more.

Yahoo Mail AI search
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Shopper Saver

Finally, Yahoo Mail has added an option called Shopper Saver. Here, the AI bot scans your email for unused gift cards, discount codes, store credits, and similar items. The idea is to find any savings bonuses that you've forgotten to use before they run out. Results of a recent survey published by Bankrate found that almost half of adults in the US had at least one gift card or store credit that remained unused.

You can check out Shopper Saver at the Yahoo Mail website or iOS app. At the website, the associated categories appear in the left pane. In the app, tap the Shopping icon at the bottom to access the specific categories. Select the Credits category to see any gift cards, vouchers, or rewards detected among your emails. Select the Deals category to see any promotions or offers detected. Open a specific email to take advantage of the credit or deal.

The Shopper Saver feature highlights any detected credits or deals in your emails.
screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Also: Is Temu legit? What to know about this shopping app before you place an order

The new AI push in Yahoo Mail is supported by Google Cloud's AI technology.

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