Yahoo Mail is hoping significant productivity enhancements up the ante in the competition against Google, MSN and AOL.
In the interest of making it easier for its people to reach each other even when theyre not online, Yahoo, on August 27, added the ability for users to send text or instant messages from a computer to a cell phone via Yahoos Web mail software.
Users of Yahoo Mail
can now send free text messages to mobile phone numbers in the U.S., Canada, India, and the Philippines, and send IMs to users of Yahoo Messenger and Windows Live Messenger.
With the click of a button, users can also convert their e-mail messages into IM chats or switch to a text message dialogue when friends come online or go mobile.
Yahoo said in a statement the upgraded version of Yahoo Mail is also faster than the previous "Classic" version and includes productivity refinements, such as an easier way of accessing address book contacts. Users can simply click on a contact and send that person an IM, text message or e-mail.
Also, Yahoo Mail now has advanced search options, allowing users to query by sender, folder, date, attachment type and message status.
For U.S. users, Yahoo Mail now boasts shortcuts. By right clicking on underlined dates, names and keywords within messages, users may add events to their Yahoo Calendars, friends to their Contacts, or view a Yahoo Map of an address.
Yahoo sails in customer satisfaction. Click here to read more.
New Yahoo Mail also features tabbed navigation, a reading pane, an integrated calendar and an RSS reader.
Afraid of change? No problem. Users who dont want to upgrade to the new version of Yahoo Mail may keep the Sunnyvale, Calif., companys Classic version.
Yahoo will make co-branded versions of the new Yahoo! Mail available in the fall to customers of AT&T Yahoo High Speed Internet, Verizon Yahoo and Rogers Yahoo Hi-Speed Internet. The new Yahoo Mail will be available this fall to Yahoo Small Business Mail users, too.
Yahoo is hoping to up the ante versus its rivals by augmenting Yahoo Mail, which launched in 1997.
Yahoo competes with Microsoft
in the market for free Web mail services.
Though the companies arent taking money from users of the Web mail services, they regard the practice as a necessity to keep millions of users on their portals.
After all, the companies make billions of dollars from online ads that they place on their portals to court those millions of eyeballs searching for information.
With that strategy always top of mind, the service providers are trying to out slug each other with high-tech innovations and services.
Storage space has been a big competing ground for these vendors. Yahoo Mail and AOL offer unlimited storage space, while Microsoft offers 5 gigabytes and Google about 3 gigabytes for its Gmail service.
With those vendors vying for its millions of users its no wonder Yahoo is scrambling to bolster its operations and services. In the last few quarters, several key executives, such as former CEO Terry Semel, have left the company.
Click here to read more about comScores search tally gets broader treatment.
Yahoo also streamlined, boiling its operations down into three groups: Advertiser & Publisher; Audience Group; and Technology Group.
Despite weathering these storms, Yahoo is doing some things right. The company scored big in customer satisfaction, according to the (ASCI) American Customer Satisfaction Index, survey. Yahoos score on the index rose 4 percent to 79, usurping the lead from Google for portals and search engines by one point on ASCIs scale of 100.
Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on enterprise search technology.