E-mail Upgrade Gives Users a New Reason to Yahoo!


Microsoft may have thrown the first punch, but Yahoo has landed a knockout blow.

Yahoo has responded to the recent overhaul of MSN’s Hotmail with an e-mail upgrade of its own. The new version of Yahoo Mail, while not the total redesign that Hotmail’s was, is signficant nonetheless. You still won’t see the appealing colors and graphics that Hotmail boasts, but better yet — you get some brilliant new features.

For years, users of full-featured e-mail clients, such as Microsoft Outlook Express, have enjoyed many tools that were never available online… until now. Perhaps for that reason, millions of people may have never tried Web-based mail tools. But that will likely change now, if Yahoo has its way.

Here’s just a glimpse at some of the new tools in Yahoo Mail:

1. Flagged messages. Now you can designate a message with a flag icon, which means that it is an important message or that you may need to act on this message, whether you need to reply to it, or remember to add an event to your calendar.

2. Mark a message as read/unread. Another way to remind yourself to act on a message is to leave it unread. That way you know that you didn’t read it and forgot to act on it. Even if you’ve read a message in Yahoo Mail, you can now mark it as unread, or vice versa.

3. Message status icons. Previously, there was no way to know if you’d replied or forwarded a message to someone else. Now, you see handy “forward” or “backward” arrows to indicate whether you’ve forwarded it or replied to that message.

4. Folder view options. In the past you saw your entire inbox at once, with no way to see a custom view. But now you can choose to see only unread messages or flagged messages, too!

5. New message layout. When reading a message, there is a new layout that makes the message cleaner looking and adds new options, such as viewing the entire message headers. (That is mainly for tech-savvy folks who want to know things like the e-mail server used to route the message and so on.) You can also click a link to view a printable version of the message, but that may have been available before as well. There are so many new features, it’s hard to remember!

6. Bigger mailbox storage. You can expand your storage limit to 10 megabytes for $9.99/year; 25 megabytes for $19.99/year; 50 megabytes for $29.99/year; or 100 megabytes for $49.99/year. Now that’s a lot of space!

There might be even more features that I haven’t discovered yet, but if I find more, I’ll add them here.

It’s safe to say that most of the already-happy Yahoo Mailers have a new reason to smile, and disgruntled Hotmail users (or displaced Excite users) have a new reason to Yahoo!

Related stories:

When to Yahoo, and When Not To – Part One, by Andrew Goodman.
Your friend recommends a cool cyber-tool to you. Should you bother with it, when Yahoo! offers the same thing?

When to Yahoo, and When Not To – Part Two, by Andrew Goodman.
The second installment of our feature that looks at whether you should bother experimenting with isolated Web services when Yahoo! offers the same thing.

Hotmail & Yahoo Mail: Best of the Best, by Cory Kleinschmidt.
One has every feature under the sun; the other is so darn easy to use. The hard part is choosing between them.

What Could be Better than Hotmail? by Andrew Goodman.
Hotmail and Yahoo Mail are the leaders in web-based e-mail. Should you use them, or something else?

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