The New Yahoo Mail: Quite Nice!

By  |  Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Yahoo has started rolling out the new version of Yahoo Mail it’s been beta-testing since last fall. I’ve been playing with it for awhile and mostly enjoying the experience. It’s a very credible Webmail client–similar in general feel and some particulars to Hotmail’s 2010 update. If, like me, you spend most of your time in Gmail (and aren’t 100% happy with the experience) it’s kind of refreshing to spend time in an alternative which is quite different in approach.

Here’s some of what’s new:

  • Yahoo says the new version is twice as fast as the old Yahoo Mail (and it does feel quite speedy–I don’t get the “Loading…” screen that I do with Gmail).
  • There’s a quick reply feature (similar to the one already in Gmail, but easier to find) that lets you begin typing a response to a message without having to click a Reply button. And it works not only for e-mail but for Facebook alerts–Yahoo Mail is smart enough to route your responses back to the Facebook items they’re replying to.
  • As in Hotmail, Yahoo Mail now turns links to online photos into embedded thumbnails and slideshows. This feature is designed to work with both Flickr and Picasa Web Albums (although I had trouble with Picasa when I tried).
  • In a feature that’s also been available in the old Yahoo Mail, there are applications: third-party add-ins that add new features, such as an Automatic Organizer from OtherInbox that’s a bit like Gmail’s Priority Inbox, an All My Receipts app that sorts messages that include receipts and tracking info, and a Send Large Files app from YouSendIt.
  • Yahoo Mail already had a cool, desktop e-mail client-like feature which Gmail and Hotmail lack: as you open up e-mails, they appear in their own tabs, making it much easier to jump between messages and/or your inbox. With this new version, it’s emphasized this approach by turning off the message preview pane in the inbox (but you can turn it back on if you like).

A few things I don’t like:

  • I find the, um, colorfulness of Yahoo Mail’s interface a bit off-putting…especially the big colorful bar with the giant Yahoo logo across the top. My dream e-mail client, like my dream word processor, would be a largely neutral container for words–and I therefore vote for white space over color and graphics. (You can choose different themes for Yahoo Mail, but they consist mostly of different fancy looks for the topper.)
  • On a similar note, I wish you could get rid of the TRENDING NOW link in the upper right-hand area, which points to stuff unrelated to your e-mail elsewhere on Yahoo.
  • Like Hotmail, Yahoo Mail deals with the tricky issue of integrating advertising into the interface by cramming a tall, skinny ad on the right-hand side. It’s distracting–hey, ads are supposed to be distracting–and makes the whole experience a little less serious and productive-feeling than Gmail, which uses only text ads. (Also, I’m getting only Yahoo house ads in one of my accounts, and mostly ads for Coke in Spanish (!?) in the other.) I don’t begrudge Yahoo the ability to monetize its useful service. And you can get rid of the ads for a reasonable $20 a year.
  • I wish that Yahoo Mail mimicked Gmail’s concept of archiving–a super-quick way to get messages out of your inbox. (You can kludge together an imitation of it by creating a folder named Archive.)

This new Yahoo Mail is the first major refresh in years, and it’s presumably in part a reaction to Gmail’s increasing dominance among hardcore Webmail users, at least in the US.  (Both Yahoo Mail and Homail still have more members than Gmail overall.) But it doesn’t feel all that Gmailish. It doesn’t try to match the sheer quantity of features (especially when you count the dozens of experiments in Gmail Labs), and the interface is more coherent and less cluttered.

Would I dump Gmail for Yahoo Mail? Well, no, not now. For one thing, I’m using Google Apps’ hosting features, so I can make Gmail the e-mail interface for my own domain names and integrate e-mail with Google Docs. For another, I really like Gmail’s mobile versions, as seen on the iPhone, iPad, and Android phones and tablets. I also dig Google Voice’s clever integration into Gmail (it’s the only way to make and receive Google Voice calls on a computer). And there are plenty of other nice touches in Gmail, like the nifty built-in PDF viewer.

So I’m not moving. But I am impressed,  and I just might forward my e-mail accounts to Yahoo Mail so I can dabble in it further. It’s great to see both Yahoo and Microsoft finally making a commitment to beefing up their Webmail clients–for several years, it felt like Google was the only major company that realized that there’s tons of potential to make Webmail way, way better than it ever was in the past…



50 Comments For This Post

  1. Steve R. Says:

    I would NEVER use ANY webmail that doesn’t offer a full-time SSL connection. Just about all others have it (Hotmail, Gmail, FastMail, Opera, Hushmail, etc.). Yahoo is SO behind on this feature. They promise…. and promise… and do nothing but introduce bells and whistles while ignoring true security for users. (Remember FireSheep ?!)

    Nope…. pretty interfaces don’t impress me when there’s so little respect for users’ safety.

  2. Muay Thai Says:

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  3. matt Says:

    The Facebook contacts integration within Yahoo mail is also really convenient I find. It helps to keep the address book current.

  4. cagranny44 Says:

    My big issue with Yahoo occurred when they let ads interfere with the text of my incoming messages. AND, when I wrote to them about the problem, they basically told me that all I had to do was upload my yahoo messages to Outlook. THAT'S when I began focusing on gmail. Gmail is now irritating me in some ways, but it appears that is but a glimmer of the future of internet monetizing. Anyway, competition did what I could not . . . . of course SBC can always BUY gmail (or maybe not) . . .and I'd have no choice.

  5. Sergei Michailov Says:

    I could not sort the messages by size because there wes not any size column. It would be useful when you want to clean a mailbox.

  6. Paul Heltzel Says:

    I was just saying what a technological Hindenburg Yahoo Mail is, after my wife asked me to log in to her account. Glad to see they're working on it as I've been unable to sell her on gmail.

  7. davezatz Says:

    If you pay something like $20/year there are no ads. I've moved to Gmail as of about a year ago, but keep paying for some reason. It looks sharp.

  8. cm5200 Says:

    2 annoying things, if i send a message with no subject which i often do there is a popup that asks if that's what I want to and i can't find a way to disable it //also the spell checker highlights misspelled words, but I can't get it to correct them

  9. maquinacriadora Says:

    New Yahoo mail is bloated and non intuitive.
    It is common for emails to not even open.
    After years using YahooMail Ill have to , unfortunately, change to Gmail.

    Also Yahoo doesnt answer my feedback for months.

    I also commented in their blog with these same comments and they filtered my mesage.
    (there are only positive comments t here)

  10. Phil Says:

    I just wish it worked. It doesn't: it's so buggy I can hardly use it – areas of text go blank during edits; mails get sent or fail to send without warning or explanation; the "to" address jumps to conclusions about what you're typing then marks it in red and goes into a sulk when you delete that and doesn't offer possible matches any more. And the memory overhead is horrific: I had it using 600MB at one point for no discerable reason.

    It's not ready for market, and you can't roll back to the previous version – avoid like the plague if they still give you the option.

    Epic fail: I'm migrating to gmail.

  11. Fred Says:

    I just got the notice I will have to switch to ad cluttered Y Mail. Gmail has been working great, so I will move all my contacts to Gmail. Yahoo Mail is the last Yahoo service I was holding on to

  12. Steven Jay Lewis Says:

    My biggest complaint is the real estate issue. I have a tall screen laptop (before they downgraded everybody to the modern short-screen) and I still can’t get enough room to reply to an email. The stupid and mostly useless theme bar takes up the first 20% of my screen and then the overly large header with tabs etc. for the reply takes up the next 25% of the screen. That leaves a bit more than half the screen for the reply and the text I’m replying to.

    Don’t like it. How to work around or time to switch to Gmail. I’ve maintained gmail for years, but stuck with Ymail – until now.

  13. Terrence Says:

    I had what I guess could be called a "real estate" problem, if I interpret that term correctly. Using New Yahoo Mail I encountered a problem each time I typed a new message that extended to more than twenty-five lines of text. After that point, I couldn't see the additional text; it just "dropped off" and was hidden from view. To see even a small portion of it, I had to switch to "Full Screen" in "View" dropdown. But the same problem happened again.

    A Yahoo Chat representative offered no help. They did not have any problem when they accessed my screen; the compose "box" enlarged to accommodate long emails. I never got a good answer to my problem and can find no tips elsewhere. I reverted to Classic version, which seems my only option.

    Am seeking help, because I'd like to try "New" version again. Any ideas.

  14. Moe Says:

    For some reason the new yahoo mail version won't load at all when using Firefox, I did try so many thing to make work , but no success !!!
    I hope if some one will tell me what I should do???

  15. sk2 Says:

    When will they stop integrating all the social networking crap and simply let email be email?

    If you have the chance, create a Yahoo Japan email account. Look at the user interface. It is clean and crisp, just like Yahoo Classic but even better.

  16. roger Says:

    the new yahoo mail looks so cluttered. the reason i didnt switch to gmailearlier was the uncluttered look of the earlier yahoo mail classis, but with this new cluttered and messy look, i am forced to switch to gmail.
    Also, from just my 5 mins of initial usage, I think to have found out a bug – if u select some messages in the inbox by ticking the square box left to the messages, and then if u press any of the arrow keys with the intention to scroll down/up the page, then all your selections are undone.

  17. saha Says:

    I HATE that there are always a billion tabs across the top!! How can I make that stop??

  18. Carol Says:

    I hate it. Easier…..HAH!!

  19. Mark Says:

    New Yahoo mail works like CRAP! So slow, some buttons don't work. Spell check is hidden. Why can't yahoo do anything right??? So behind the times. switching to Gmail and webhosting to godaddy. those idiots!

  20. elleaime Says:

    in the new yahoo the spelling is not working can someone help !!!!!!!

  21. elleaime Says:

    at least am not the only one who is complainning about the spelling in my opinion I agree this is CRAP what so new about and we have to look for each button

  22. kathy Says:

    I hate it too — in fact, I went back to "classic" mail until they get rid of it for good. I hate the fact that I cannot use the "back" button to go back to the inbox — the back button takes me out of Yahoo Mail altogether! And it was NOT any faster at all — in fact, for me, it was much SLOWER than before. I ran a test and sent an email to myself — it took over 5 hours to receive it!! Quite NICE? I think NOT!

  23. Glenn Gillihan Says:

    I second this comment 'For some reason the new yahoo mail version won't load at all when using Firefox, I did try so many thing to make work , but no success !!!
    I hope if some one will tell me what I should do???' Why can't they create something that works?

  24. ebpp Says:

    the problem I have with Yahoo is that they try to tie in the email wtih all their other services. So instead of just going and checking your email, you have to bypass the screen with all the unnecssary information you don't want to see

  25. Claire Says:

    The new yahoo mail should be optional i think, because making you change things is ridiculous. Thanks a lot Yahoo, now I'm switching to Gmail.

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  27. C.W. Says:

    Personally I don't like the new yahoo mail, to cluttered and too many tabs for me, the old yahoo mail was go for us simple people, just leave things alone YAHOO. I just shut mine off, and told everyone that instant messaged me from there, they would have to send me emails from now on. I told Yahoo I didn't like it, but they probably don't care anyway.

  28. gkc Says:

    The most recent Yahoo Mail sucks because it is terribly SLOW in Win XP, IE8. Same sluggish behavior on my other computer with Win Vista and IE9.
    Here is what I hate about new Yahoo Mail:
    (1) Eats up too much Memory. Excessive memory use warning keeps displaying.
    (2) Each of multiple IE instances (in Task Manager) use over 1.0 Gb memory each.
    (3) Yahoo Mail causes PROCESSOR USAGE at 100% sustained, triggering Warnings of high proessor usage by Yahoo Mail.
    (4) Computer overheats and shuts down due to high processor usage caused by Yahoo Mail.
    (5) Spell Checker does not correct misspellings, doesn't even suggest alternatives.
    (6) Missing SIZE column.

  29. gkc Says:

    CONTINUED' from above:
    (7) ATTACHMENTS column cannot be moved to beginning of row.
    (8) FLAG column cannot be moved to beginning of row.
    (9) DATE column displays relative references (like 'yesterday') or displays Days of the week, instead of absolute dates (like 08-28-11) for emails.
    (10) Bloated, sluggish email NAVIGATION caused by multiple TABS within Y Mail that cannot be erased.
    (11) Yahoo Mail degrades overall performance of computer, affecting other programs by making them run too slowly.
    Yahoo Mail worked well before this 'upgrade'. Now I'll have to find an alternative in something like Gmail. (Not Hotmail since it has advertisements that also cause high CPU usage and sluggish behavior).
    One positive about Yahoo Mail is its strong SEARCH capability to find individual emails, but that is insufficient to overcome all the other problems created by the "new" Yahoo Mail.

  30. Lisa in Oregon Says:

    I am finding the new yahoo interface eats up memory like crazy even when idle, it's killing me… 400MB or more of memory, so it ends up being much slower and more cumbersome than the old interface.

    Tried to talk to yahoo about the problem and the person (rather clueless, said can't be a yahoo problem since yahoo offers unlimited storage???) just claimed it was the browser (welll, they told me to talk to my "computer provider")… although the problem is both in IE and firefox. Bah. Gmail also seemed to have really high memory use and no search and sort.

    Yahoo has had problems here and there over the last 12 or so years but this is the worst, may have to finally make a change. New features don't matter if the application isn't useable!

  31. Erin Rothchild Says:

    having problems with emails..when writing the cursor doesnt move for about ten to fifteen characters and then it jumps and the letters all appear at once…wearing my husband out trying to correct this matter and most likely changing to gmail or outlook…after all these years, i am going to miss my yahoo….if any of you reading are YAHOO corporate…PLEASE BRING THE OLD YAHOO BACK .. it was much more efficient for everyday and all day usage. Have been on the phone with yahoo customer service this morning and all they could tell me is to go to google chrome or firefox for a browser instead of IE…in my industry as a realtor, those browsers do not interface with the Realtor version of our MLS website in the greater Houston area….want my old yahoo back pretty please <3

  32. Rob Says:

    I agree with much of the above. The old Yahoo mail worked much better, it was easier to find what you were looking for and didn't have a "mind" of its own. Like others, I have also written to Yahoo pointing out various things, but so far I have not received a single reply. Maybe Yahoo is simply afraid of facing the truth: that the new mail is a mess.

  33. bigphillydaddy Says:

    I hate it! Yes you can go back to Classic, but that is not as fully function as the last version of Yahoo Mail, before the newest switch. There was nothing wrong with the last version. This is a total step backwards..

    Biggest Complaints….

    1) My biggest complaint is that I have a lot of "Mail Folders" and with
    the new interface there is no more
    "Scrolling Bar" for the Mail Folders. Which means I have to pull
    the whole web page down to get
    most of the folders that lie below the bottom of the screen. This
    makes it very, very difficult to
    file e-mails by dragging and dropping, that used to be a breeze.
    Plus it's a nusense to
    drag the
    page down and then drag it back up.

    2) Now, when Composing an e-mail, (and I am pretty sure about this
    compared to the last edition

    of Yahoo Mail), now there is an additional scrolling bar with the body
    of the e-mail, plus the one for the Web Page down. This makes
    maneuvering in the email awkward. Why can't it be determined by the
    scrolling bar on the Web Page itself.

    3) I seem to be having difficult placing the cursor in different
    portions of an e-mail.
    For instance if I am trying to forward a long e-mail and trying to
    edit some information in the lower
    portion of that e-mail, when I try to place the cursor in that
    appropriate place it keeps jumping
    up top. It never did that before? It takes about 5 determined tries
    before the cursor gets located
    where it's
    supposed to, before I can start doing the editing I need to do. I do
    this a lot
    so I know it's not functioning the way it used to.

    4) Lastly, I do a lot of crossing searching in e-mails. It use to be
    (last week before the switch-over),
    all you had to do to search all the e-mail (for example of the
    person that just sent you an e-mail),
    was to click-on their e-mail address and they all popped-up, not
    now (;

    that I don't really see any visible improvement with the New Yahoo
    Mail, but I am seeing a few things that are steps backwards for me and
    the way I have use Yahoo Mail for the past many years.
    I'm not against change, but this is very frustrating.

    Again, my biggest and most irritating gripe is the Loss of the Scrolling
    Bar on The Mail Folders.
    Is that something that can be brought back????

  34. Ileana Says:

    Yahoo mail was my favorite cause it was easy and comfortable to use and I loved sending emails cause I was able to change colors on the letters. And It was just comfortable and nice. But, now!! It is so hard for the eyes, that color "dark purple"!! It is hard to focus on the letters with that dark purple. When I check my emails I see the oldest from 2009 first and since it is all new I have to find a way to fix that. When I send an email, I don't have the choice of typing in color. Why don't you make that purple into a light purple color and leave all the features it had to send emails, the same. It is now so uncomfortable that I might use another email I have more. I have to leave this running cause some people I know have this email but I will switch slowly to another email like gmail or hot mail.

  35. Ileana Says:

    **Hate the color, too dark so it is hard to read my emails because of the dark color right above.
    **Sending emails,without a choice of color on the letters, was my favorite, and it is not avaiable any more.
    **To send email's, correcting spelling is harder to do so.
    ** How it displays the emails, right now, it is displaying the oldest email first. I don't like that.
    **That more box feeling and dark lines, stands out more then the emails, and mixed with that dark purple, it is hard to focus on the emails.
    I just hate it.

  36. Jim Grey Says:

    New Yahoo mail sucks. "Features" such as better spam filtering has nothing to do with the client interface, and "no download required" is how web-based applications work. Those aren't features of the new interface, they are how web-based email works.

    Tabs are useless – the only time I notice them is when "too many are open" (at least the program will close them) or I am trying to delete a draft that is open in some random tab (then I have to close them manually).

    The worst part, though, is the back button. Don't use it, it will log you right of mail! That is totally counter-intuitive and a major fail! Fortunately you *can* go back to "classic" by changing your screen resolution to 800×600 and then trying to log in. Since the new interface won't work in that resolution, you can "permanently" switch back to Classic – at least until Yahoo forces that option to go away as well.

  37. ThatDeborahGirl Says:

    You must be paid for this review because the new Yahoo Mail is horrible! I could write a diatribe on the travesty that is tabbed browsing alone, but the forced upgrade is awful. Click this button or else – not allowing people to access their mail – that is awful customer service and I WILL NEVER TRUST YAHOO AGAIN. I am moving all my email service to Gmail and Yahoo can go suck an egg

  38. I DISLIKE Says:

    YAHOO STILL HAS no BACK BUTTON…often you hit one key on laptop inadverently and you lose your entire written EMAIL….YAHOO SUCKS FOR THIS—

  39. M for Classic Says:

    This article does not describe my experience with the new Yahoo mail at all. I had always preferred Yahoo Classic mail over Hotmail and GMail but the new Yahoo interface is terrible slow (like Hotmail while it's loading the animated ads on the page). It's buggy and the old features now take extra clicks of the menu in order to access them.

    I was getting ready to dump Yahoo altogether but found a solution to Switching Back to Classic Yahoo Mail! Do a Google search with "turn off Javascript to go back to Classic Yahoo mail" and you'll see several weblinks with steps on how to do this without having to call Yahoo Customer Service.

    Basic steps: turn off Javascript in your browser, log in to your Y! email account, choose the last item "Return to Classic Mail" and you'll see your old fave layout coming back! Remember to turn Javascript back on so you can use the mailbox.

    You'll get back the old Classic interface in a matter of seconds. Shame on Yahoo for not posting this solution on their own Help site. I'm sure they're getting plenty of hate mail and calls for forcing people to convert to the new mail layout. It's absolutely horrible to use. I'm so relieved I could still get back to the Classic format.

  40. JoJO Says:

    The new email is awful. I hate it. I can't even begin to say how many features they used to have that are missing. I HATE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please change things back.

  41. Deric Says:

    I found these comments before me – are iterating many of my issues with the new yahoo mail.
    The memory hog issue is bad.
    The cursor does jump away from where you want to use it.
    I sometimes see the type wait and then suddenly appear too.

    I also have a gmail addy, but I had always preferred the yahoo mail but……

    I do hope the yahoo engineering dept will get this under control

  42. dale sheridan Says:

    The ads said twice as fast!! Yahoo baby.. like e-mail aint fast enough. ROFLMAO! So now It sucks up 100mbs just to open it. Spam ads on top of your e-mail. My work PC went from working good on Y mail to almost hung condition. Cant open two windows. Cut and paste make text dissapear. I know the problem. Before when you went from Yahoo Home page to your E-mail page all their links went away and all you had was the weight of your messages. Now they added the Whats New Tab and this essentially keeps all their BS loaded on your page and in your memory. Did they not figure out why they lost the search engine wars? It was because of their bloated home page everyone got tired having to load to get a search!! Now they do the same thing to the E-mail. My god the blind leading the blind!!

  43. MikeP Says:

    Yahoo mail is getting worse.. , embedded images no longer showing up. And yes i have the latest updates to all browsers, flash , etc.. Yahoo is dropping the ball.. Hell i liked the older version , it at least worked.. There been many times i have gotten script crashing errors, normally when trying to move emails into folders… COME ON YAHOO!!!

  44. Peter Says:

    When I switch on the preview pane I get no preview still. Only two links "choose you favorite way to communicate". Anyone got an idea how to get rid of this and see the actual preview?

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  46. Penelope Says:

    The new Yahoo mail is ridiculous! every time I want to send someone a photo attachment I get a message stating that there is suspicious activity in my mail and then forces me to use captcha in order to send my photo out. I'm done with this email service that's trying to be like gmail!

    I use GMX mail now, much nicer and not at all nanny-ish. Yahoo used to be nice but no more.

  47. Ben Says:

    It's one of the numerous stupid things Yahoo has done to drive itself into toilet. Turning off the preview tab with 3 stupid buttons really beats me. What are those morons in Yahoo are thinking.

    The new Yahoo mail sucks. The company will go to hell soon.

  48. carol Says:

    The new version of yahoo mail stinks! I can't send or forward emails and can not check for spelling errors at all now. My computer is so very slow and loading addresses from my contacts takes forever!!!! Now it won't load them at all to send an email.
    I can't even contact yahoo mail to get any answers and it is so very fustrating!!!!!!!!!!!
    Does anyone know how to help me or how to get hold of someone at yahoo who can help me or do I need to hire a computer tech to come to my computer to fix their mess??????

  49. jani karels Says:

    wil you please help me i dont no what to do my whole email is gone from yesterday

  50. Stan MArshall Says:

    Harry, are you out of your mind? I’d rather go back to the verion I had two revamps ago than struggle with this new one. Editing pasted word documents is impossible and the lack of formatting options os rediculous.

    Every time I past a word doc into my email to send, it changes things like line spacing and text alignment. I’ve had to go to an alternative email account to send emails.

    Eggheads might love this crap, but as a non-teckies of higher than average intellegence and business experience, I can tell you it blows.