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Yahoo releases beta update to its email service

Claims less is more
Wed Oct 27 2010, 11:28

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER is perhaps the best way to describe the latest update to Yahoo Mail.

The Internet portal has released a beta version of what it claims is "one of the most ambitious Web client technology efforts" the firm has undertaken. Yahoo Mail apparently still has over 270 million users who have yet to discover Gmail, and in a bid to keep up with recent Microsoft and Google updates to their email services, Yahoo has focused on making its webmail service leaner and more social notworking aware.

Yahoo claims that most of the changes are under the bonnet, and that by using software such as CSS3, a modularised Javascript system, innovative use of HTTP streams and cutting down on the number of images the website uses, the code is 35 per cent lighter. There are also networking tweaks, with the firm saying that Yahoo Mail makes greater use of its cloud services and can adaptively shift server capacity depending on geographical demand.

All of these changes make its webmail service "at least twice as fast" as its current product, Yahoo claims. Now if Yahoo can only do a better job than Microsoft in deploying the update.

Yahoo claims this update makes its webmail service "a faster, safer, more personally meaningful communication experience". Spare us the marketing hype, we think most users would settle for using Pine over a SSH session if it meant they would get less spam.

One problem for Yahoo is that both Microsoft, and to a greater extent Google, have tightly integrated their respective email services into their smartphone operating systems. On Google's Android OS, although it does support Yahoo Mail, a Google Gmail account is required to get the most out of the device and this is sure to worry Yahoo.

Whether its latest update will help Yahoo stay relevant in the growing smartphone market is debatable, but on the desktop, its millions of users should keep it going for a few more years. µ



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