After years of struggling to turn itself into a social platform, world's largest email provider Yahoo has unveiled a host of new features in the much crowded space of social networking.
As the Internet evolves into a giant social community, Yahoo seems all set to mirror the common social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace into another hot spot for socialising.
After a series of setbacks, which includes the recent exit of its CEO, failure of deal with Microsoft and the collapse of advertising pact with Google, Yahoo aims to reinvent itself as a social network.
Part of Yahoo's Open Strategy, the changes include a social Inbox for Yahoo Mail, third-party applications on its My Yahoo start page, and a new Yahoo Toolbar. Here's a look at all that is new with Yahoo all-new mail which can be best described as Social Mail.
In line with new thinking, Yahoo has begun weaving trendy social-networking features into its email service as it vies to be the preferred launching point for Internet surfers.
The company says it is eager to provide tools that will let people use its email service to build interactive communities based on friends and interests. Considering that Yahoo is the largest email provider in the world, this may well prove to be its trump card.
At the press event held in San Francisco,Yahoo showed off a newly-styled inbox, which combines social networking functions and also allows users access to third-party programmes.
The smarter inbox, which is being rolled out to users on a limited basis in coming months, features a new welcome page that surfaces messages, information, and activity updates from people close to user.
The new inbox puts messages from friends or family in a separate, tabbed file so they don't get buried under mountains of spam or work email. The inbox for the first time lets people install third-party applications such as movie-recommendation service Flixster and blogging tools from WordPress.
Technology from startup Xoopit (pronounced swoop-it) will fetch all pictures buried in stored emails, even retrieving images from website links found in messages.
Open to third-party apps
Yahoo also is copying Facebook and MySpace by opening its email service to applications created by outside programmers. In a test that started on Monday among a small number of email users, Yahoo began offering applications developed for finding photos stored in their mailboxes, transferring information to blogs and sharing tips about movies.
In the limited beta test, Yahoo is offering applications like Flixter (share movie time, trailers and reviews), WordPress (post photos and links to a blog from your inbox), Xoopit (see and share all the photos stored in e-mail, including attachments and links to photo sharing sites, in one organized and consolidated “photo view” of the inbox.), and Yahoo services like Flickr and Yahoo Greetings
The changes will turn Yahoo's email service into a "scrapbook for your life," said John Kremer, company’s vice president. "We hope opening up Yahoo mail will have a game-changing influence on the industry
Besides tweaking its email service, Yahoo plans to upgrade its toolbar for Web browsers. The improvements include the ability to check new messages coming into Yahoo email and other Web-based email providers as well as to receive notifications about their online connections' latest activities.
The new toolbar available later this week will allow users access to a selected group of programmes from the toolbar without leaving the page they are on. For example, users get notifications of new emails on the toolbar and can open them.
Users will be able to monitor and search for items on eBay and finds local movie show times. The toolbar also alerts users about Updates from personal connections. Personal search suggestions surface the sites a user has visited and provides search results in the toolbar.