July 25th, 2006

Yahoo Mail Beta Review

I fell too much in love with my customized Alleba email courtesy of Gmail for domains that I completely neglected to do my piece on Yahoo!’s new beta mail interface. What better time to do it when I’ve slightly gotten over the whole Gmail affair.

I have been using Yahoo! Mail Beta for slightly over a month now. No, I didn’t lie about my zip code just to try it, as I am aware that only the French and the Germans get to use it.

First, the bad stuff. My biggest and initial complaint with the new interface is it’s slow as hell. To think I am on DSL — but then again it’s PLDT Mydsl (which explains a lot). But that’s already beside the point. While I was logging in, this weird kid on a bouncing ball appears on the screen:

yahoo beta bouncing ball

A bad distraction for the full 20 seconds it takes for all the AJAX (or Asynchronous Javascript and XML) components that make up the new look to load. Yeah, 20 seconds. I timed it five times. Gmail, which also depends a lot on AJAX, takes only 9 seconds to load up. In all fairness though, those 20 seconds become a thing of the past when you see Yahoo! Mail’s sleeker, more streamlined GUI:

yahoo beta interface 2

Yahoo! put a lot of thought and hard work on this one. I can’t help but call it a clone of Microsoft Outlook, but better as it integrates some of Yahoo’s existing services and features such as the spam filter, contacts and RSS reader. I look forward to seeing the Calendar and Notepad integrated as well. Just like a desktop application, some keyboard functions are supported. The RSS reader is a great addition. All my feed subscriptions (via My Yahoo!) are automatically included so I don’t have to re-add them one by one.

yahoo beta interface rss

In the long run, I’ll still be very concerned about the tedious loading time and the sluggishness I experience while going through new messages or simply scrolling down my message list. Nevertheless, I doubt that they’ll cut any corners to reduce the amount of AJAX in this app because Yahoo!, as evidenced by their snappy new homepage, is obviously steering towards the Web 2.0 direction. With Google using AJAX like it’s detergent (heh), I think it’s only right that Yahoo! follows suit. But in all honesty, Yahoo! Mail Beta, although a good effort, is a bit overdone for me. For the more pragmatic set of email users, the old Yahoo! Mail is still the best way to access mail because so far the features that Beta has, isn’t worth 20 seconds of waiting time.

Posted in Email, Google, Sites in Review, Web Apps, Yahoo!


  1. 4 Comments

  2. Ria said...

    So how come you got to try it without “doctoring” your ZIP Code?

    Jul 25, 2006

  3. Andrew said...

    Heh. I signed up for the demo. I think they advertised it for about a day.

    Jul 26, 2006

  4. Sandesh said...

    No need to trick with ZIP code, Now Yahoo India offers Yahoo mail beta

    Sep 11, 2006

  5. ICD said...

    I live on a US territory so I got to use it earlier than most people. Most of my friends and I hated the new Yahoo Mail. I tried it for a week or so and I switched back to the old, friendly, and reliable version. It may look and feel slick but it is the slow loading time that irritated me. It does look like Outlook and that’s where some of the problem lies: I never did like Outlook. When you check older emails, it takes a long time to load even with a 100mbps DSL connection we have at work.

    Nov 18, 2006

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