I seldom use my Yahoo! Mail due to my Gmail advocacy. Two days after typhoon Milenyo ravaged the Metro and a day after power got restored, I finally got to boot my PC and use some Net time. Lo and behold when I check my Yahoo Mail! They have got Beta.
Seems like they are bringing the fight to Google.
Let me run down some of the new features on beta (Just try signing up for the service through the link. Yahoo!’s pretty much stingy on screenshots (I have read their fair use policy).
1. Reading Pane
No more hassle loading times to open an e-mail. Just click on a message and the content appears the bottom of the screen. Hmmm. Nice one.
The Mozilla tabbed browsing sure caught on. Just like in Firefox browsing, you can open a. Pretty nice addition. Though it makes tabs quite redundant if you are using Firefox (or Internet Explorer 7 Beta, pff). Versus, Gmail, it is really an added bonus. Gmail does not allow a Firefox user to right-click and open a message on another tab. It allows one to open it in a new window but pop-up blockers tend to block them. Plus 1 for Yahoo!
A custumized GUI that allows you to drag and drop messages to folders, the trash bin, essentially wherever. Much easier for folder-fiends. Gmail pushed for the “Label” type of organization, banking on the search function for organization. Some obssessive-compulsive friends of mine hated this in Gmail. OC as I am, I did not mind, though.
You can now search through headings, contents and attachments. Bonus, is a highlighting system that marks the search keywords. As for Gmail? Google is still the search engine king but Yahoo! offers another feature that displays the actual region (a few lines of message content) that includes the keywords. I have to give Yahoo! props for this.
Yahoo! Mail Beta boasts of a gig of space. Gmail has approximately 2.769 gigs. Haha.
Yahoo! Mail uses Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus and their patented SpamGuard. By experience, since Yahoo has been around in the e-mail business, users are pretty susceptible to spam. My Gmail account though does get some spam but as long as you cooperate marking them as spam, both technologies’ engines works to some extent. Google, I think, has been using their own anti-virus. And Google does not let you attach EXE files (even if they are inside ZIP archives). Points? A tie I guess. Both allows spam to be marked. Both have options for cleaning files of viruses. And I have not been vulnerable to spam or viruses ever.
A cycling check for new messages every so-and-so seconds or minutes. I have not bothered checking yet. Gmail also does this every few seconds or so. This is a very useful option for users who keep their broser windows open every time.
The normal version of Yahoo! Mail also had a few keyboard shortcuts. I only know of a few people (mostly ranging from intermediate and advanced users) who use keyboard shortcuts. Believe me, keyboarding is much faster than the mouse. Gmail initially had the more comprehensive shortcut collection for use in Gmail. I have to get around checking Yahoo!’s.
9. RSS Feed
Built for those who live in front of their computers. Google has its Google Reader for organization of RSS feeds. Yahoo! integrated it with their Mail. Hmmm… the trend goes on.
10. Access Anywhere
Yahoo! has been offering mobile services and the like ever since. So wherever there is an internet connection, there must be Yahoo! Gmail has just recently put up their mobile service so we will just have to wait before they slug it out.
In any case, we see that Yahoo! is trying to create and all-around total package for webmail users. Just one browser window open for all messaging needs. Yahoo! has integrated so many functions. But! Gmail is still in beta and it has GoogleTalk integrated in it too. Yahoo! has yet to put in Y! Messenger inside Mail.
The ultimate drawback for Yahoo! Mail Beta is its demand for broadband. Let’s face it, not everyone in the Philippines has broadband. Gmail, with its barebones plus Talk interface is able to load efficiently through dial-ups and Yahoo! Mail Beta will make dial-up users cry.
Nonetheless, a great effort from Yahoo! integrating so many features in one. Cute and playful GUI too.