Update 2012-12-16: If you are looking for the New Yahoo Mail 2012 update, click here. Otherwise, proceed reading.
I should have done this review long ago but I haven’t paid much attention to the New Yahoo Mail service until I received the service announcement last week that Yahoo is upgrading all non-beta users to the New Yahoo Mail. It’s almost a year now since I have participated in the early beta and now the public can already upgrade to the latest version of Yahoo Mail.
Before I continue, I need to confess something: my Yahoo Mail account has collected cobwebs since I switched to Gmail but I do log in occasionally to keep my account active.
Key Features of the New Yahoo Mail
Yahoo claims that this version is 2x faster and I really feel that this version is faster than the previous incarnation of the ‘improved’ Yahoo Mail 2 years ago. It also allows instant previews of photos and videos, and you can play it right in your inbox. I tried linking a Video video and it was not recognized so I think that the instant slideshows and playback is only limited with official supported sites Flickr, Picasa and Youtube.
Quick Reply looks like Gmail’s in-line reply but unlike Gmail where you can edit the subject and recipients on the fly, Yahoo Mail’s Quick Reply works like an instant message only. You can only type your reply and there’s no other option. It’s very useful for quick one-liner response and that’s all there is to it.
Yahoo boast a better spam protection and to some degree I agree that they do have a better spam protection because I receive far less spam in my Yahoo inbox than in my Gmail inbox even if my Yahoo email address had been around longer.
Mobility and Integrations
Instant messaging and SMS is now highly integrated with the new user interface. Apart from email, you can also choose instant messages and SMS when composing new message.
You can also optionally connect your Facebook friends to chat with them right in your inbox. Personally, I will not integrate my Yahoo account with my Facebook account for reasons that I have discussed in my blog in the past.
Ease of Use
While it’s true that the new Yahoo Mail is faster than ever before and it fully supports all major mobile devices, some of the basic features that I am looking forward are still missing
There is still no threaded messages. Somehow when you got a taste of Gmail, it’s hard to come back to Yahoo or any conventional listed emails.
Also, I’m a bit surprised that clicking reply on the top navigation does not copy what you have written on the quick reply area. What if in the middle of a ‘quick’ reply I change my mind and I want to format my message? In order to keep what I written on the space below, I have to copy it – click reply – then paste it; still not as useful as I thought it would be.
Yahoo Mail breaks the back button. Click the back button does not return you to the previous action. If you click the back button you will most likely end up on the sign-in page. How can they miss this?
On the positive note, when I tested the beta version last year, there is still no page-by-page navigation. I have requested this over and over for the last 2 years and that’s the best thing they have added from my feature requests. At last, my Yahoo inbox works like how I wanted it.
If you activate the automatic organizer application by Otherinbox, your lower priority emails will be automatically organized in folders which leaves more important messages from family and friends in your inbox. It seems like a good idea but I am not comfortable enabling a 3rd party application right in my inbox. I find the implementation of priority inbox in Gmail more useful than this.
Ever since Yahoo took heavy competition from Gmail, Yahoo started offering unlimited storage. It is awesome even for casual users. Gone are the days that you have to worry about your mail inbox limit.
When sending attachments, you can attach large files as many as 50 files or as big as 100mb in a single email using Yousendit 3rd party application. Take note that standard attachment size is still 25mb which is the max message size limit.
Yahoo Mail Overall Impression
Overall I think this is the best Yahoo Mail ever since Gmail came out. I think Yahoo listened a lot from loyal fans and translated that feedback to this latest version of Yahoo Mail. Even if it took so long to achieve this status I think it is worth all the time and effort put into this product.
The integration of Yahoo Messenger, SMS and Facebook right in your inbox looks very attractive for avid chatters and babblers because it gives easy access to all your online friends even on the web.
Good things put aside, let me enumerate what I found missing. I already mentioned the broken back button and remarkably limited quick reply but there’s more.
Secure HTTP connection or HTTPS is still not available in this version of Yahoo Mail. Gmail and Windows Live have this for some time now. It shows that Yahoo do not care if your inbox is vulnerable to session side-jacking. Session hijacking is not new but it is getting more accessible using free hijacking software readily available on the web like Firesheep.
Until today you still have to pay premium fee for POP access and it is just sad because it should have been free long time ago. You can use IMAP in mobile free of charge and there is a work around to make it work in PC but you have to do some research.
Threaded conversation is also absent. I’m not sure if this feature is not requested by many Yahoo Mail users at all or Yahoo is just reluctant to copy yet another Gmail pioneer feature. Windows Live already gave an option to group email by conversation long time ago for the benefits of Live users. Why can’t Yahoo do the same?
You can watch the ‘trailer’ video below and you can also watch it New Yahoo Mail overview.
Let me wrap this up by saying that to me, Gmail is still the best free email provider, IMHO. Competition is good and it creates a lot of options for consumers like you and me. Yahoo’s effort to modernize the look and feel of Yahoo! Mail is certainly welcome. There are some good new features thrown in but it still fall short on my expectation.
Let me know what you think of the new Yahoo Mail in the comment section.