The long overdue upgrades for Yahoo webmail service has finally arrived. Yahoo Mail upgrades for Apple iOS, Windows 8, Android, and the Web were rolled out last Tuesday, suggesting that the Internet pioneer company has still a fight left for its products.
The update is the very first product upgrade since CEO Marissa Mayer took the helm of the company. She promised to turn the fortunes of Yahoo around by revamping the company’s languishing collection of apps and Web sites.
Yahoo, a firm that once dominated email and search when the Internet was young as well as one of the first players in online news aggregation and instant messaging, has since then saw decline as competition against rivals like Google caught the Web by storm. Yahoo’s declined continued until the company snatched away Marissa Mayer, a former Google head.
Months after her hiring, she pledged to restructure the company, retouch the products, and turn the company again into a strong competitor that can rival with Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Twitter, to name a few.
General manager of Yahoo Mail Vivek Sharma said that Ms Mayer is an active contributor in revamping Yahoo Mail.
“She’s played an unbelievably pivotal role in product direction and design,” said Sharma. “She has an unbelievably intuitive understanding of what users want and need.”
While the changes to the email apps are not that important, they provide a whole new experience to loyal Yahoo users as well as show the firm’s commitment to offer what needs to be done instead of simply hanging around and hoping that people will just care.
Yahoo’s move is a reaction to Microsoft’s and Google’s recent redesigns of their Hotmail/Outlook and Gmail mail services. While the new Yahoo Mail now appears to have a more streamlined look, the company’s use of texture and color in its user-interface design still lags behind a few years back if compared to its competitors. The main thrust of the company is to make its products simpler by promoting fewer visible elements while offering a more intuitive layout, as well as making them more consistent across platforms. All the Web client and mobile apps now exhibit the same general layout and features.
The most modern of the company’s new apps is the one for Apple’s iOS as it uses the baked-in iOS tools that Twitter, Google, and Facebook are already using in their own apps, like the “swipe” and “pull” options. Some of the good things in the new app are its efficiency in rendering emails properly quickly and allowing users to work offline. The drawback so far is the limitation of allowing only one profile to log in.
The new Web client was also improved, eliminating the unnecessary visual clutter and providing easier steps to send emails, though it still feels old compared to the more modern feel of its rivals. The Yahoo Mail Windows 8 version easily feels modern because it is using the new Windows 8 design programming. However, just like the default Metro mail app, Yahoo Mail does not offer an expanded view of individual emails. Such a flaw forces users to view their messages in a corner of the screen.
Yahoo’s email service is also lagging behind its competitors in terms of perks and more features like instant messaging service, cloud storage, and even the minor “priority inbox” setting. Needless to say, being good is no longer enough for email service nowadays and it is always easier to find better options.
Sharma expressed his opinion that those features are valuable. Yahoo is currently looking for more ways to improve the utility of Yahoo Mail, Sharma said. It is also looking into finding more ways to develop new clients for other iOS mobile products like the iPad.