Well, the ante’s been upped in the user registration – er – mail wars. Yahoo will announce Tuesday that it has revamped its mail products, increasing the storage on its paid and free products to 2 gigabytes and 100 mbytes, respectively.
Is this a big deal? Yes. Why? Well, it’s the first shot in a long war of attrition that will benefit consumers and pave the way toward a true platform web. It’s very exciting, in a way, if you’re into this kind of stuff.
Yahoo mail chief Brad Garlinghouse (OK, formally, vice president, Communications Products ) gave me a quick overview of the strategy shift and said that Yahoo Mail is “getting a new coat of paint” on the UI side, and that “basically, storage is now a commodity.” He notes that this is consistent with Yahoo’s “life engine” theme – that mail is now a main way many manage their life, and Yahoo wants to create a mail program that understands that mail is more than text – it’s photos, calendar, etc.
The upgraded premium product will cost $19.99 a year and include 2 gigs of storage. This doubles Gmail’s one gig limit, I am sure quite intentionally. Also, the premium product will lose graphical ads…
A full list of features is in the extended entry of this post, or I imagine by the time you all read this you can just search Google – er – Yahoo News for more. Well shit, I was told to embargo this till midnight, but the frigging world already has it…The Times story misses the search piece altogether…but does point to an issue Yahoo is testing in a trial ballon fashion – that of privacy.
The main thing I think is missing from this ante-upping play is full featured search – the release simply says “Faster search – Yahoo! Mail inboxes are easier than ever to manage, thanks to even better search capabilities at faster speeds.” That sounds like a whole lotta nothing, compared to what Gmail does. I’ll ask for more details and post on it here when I hear.
Yahoo! Announces “New and Improved” Yahoo! Mail,
Introduces Major Increase in Storage Space,
Makes 50 Million Additional E-Mail Addresses Available
Yahoo! Mail Gets a New Look and Feel,
Continues Robust Security and Commitment to Privacy,
Filters More Than 95 Percent of Spam
Sunnyvale, CA – June 15, 2004 — Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), a leading global Internet company, today unveiled a new and improved Yahoo! Mail (http://mail.yahoo.com), the No. 1 e-mail service in the country, measured both by reach1 and by the percentage of people who identify Yahoo! as their primary personal e-mail account2. Yahoo! is leveraging years of customer insight with key innovations to deliver a product that responds precisely to what consumers want and need in an e-mail service.
Yahoo! is introducing a number of exciting enhancements to Yahoo! Mail including a major increase in storage space for both free and premium users. Free e-mail subscribers will automatically be upgraded to 100-megabytes of storage, 25 times more than the prior free offering. Premium customers, including subscribers to SBC Yahoo! Dial and DSL, will have virtually unlimited storage at 2-gigabytes, far in excess of any major e-mail service and 200 times the amount offered by most other Internet service providers. All users will benefit from the new design and improved search capabilities, and graphical ads will be removed from Yahoo! Mail Plus and SBC Yahoo! Mail, all of which make Yahoo! Mail easier and faster than ever. Additionally, the company is opening up more than 50 million Yahoo! IDs, giving consumers more address options for their e-mail accounts.
The company is focused on continually innovating and improving Yahoo! Mail, and a number of additional product enhancements are expected to follow in the coming months.
“Our unique experience as an e-mail pioneer and innovator in the communications space – coupled with insights gleaned from our tens of millions of loyal customers – helps ensure we are delivering the best e-mail product possible,” said Brad Garlinghouse, vice president, Communications Products, Yahoo! Inc. “With the new Yahoo! Mail, consumers won’t have to think about mailbox size. When they judge webmail value, they’ll continue to look at all the things that make Yahoo! Mail No. 1 – including privacy practices, superior spam and virus protection, and integrated calendaring and alerts.”
Yahoo! Mail: No.1 and Now Better Than Ever
The overall goal of the improvements are to extend Yahoo!’s position as the market’s leading e-mail product – which means adding useful new features, while maintaining and even improving the experience for the company’s millions of loyal e-mail customers. Key elements of the new features being introduced today include:
§ Streamlined design – Although still comfortably familiar, the new look of Yahoo! Mail is easier than ever to use. Yahoo! has developed an even cleaner design that allows consumers to quickly and easily read and compose e-mail while eliminating graphical ads for premium users entirely.
§ Increased storage & message attachment size – Leveraging consumer insights around what users want and need, Yahoo! has introduced new storage levels. Yahoo! inboxes now allow message sizes up to10-megabytes, and 100-megabyte mailboxes for free users and virtually unlimited storage for premium customers with 2-gigabyte mailboxes. The new mail storage sizes follow last year’s changes to Yahoo! Photos, when the company began to offer unlimited free storage for photo files.
§ Faster search – Yahoo! Mail inboxes are easier than ever to manage, thanks to even better search capabilities at faster speeds.
§ More account names – Yahoo! is releasing more than 50 million Yahoo! IDs allowing consumers more freedom to pick the Yahoo! e-mail ID that best suits them. These Yahoo! IDs include a number of highly sought after names that have been dormant for many years and are just now being put back into circulation.
Safer, More Secure Inboxes
These enhancements supplement Yahoo!’s industry leading virus and spam protection. Protecting people’s inboxes has been a key priority – and as a result, Yahoo! Mail automatically scans e-mail attachments to help protect consumers from viruses and consistently filters more than 95 percent of spam3 thanks to SpamGuard, Yahoo!’s proprietary spam filtering system.
“We know that the longer a consumer has an email account, the more likely they are to be targets for unwanted e-mail, which is why we are constantly fine tuning our spam controls to tighten the noose around the necks of spammers,” continued Garlinghouse. “We don’t think consumers should or will accept an e-mail experience that degrades over time. Yahoo! Mail enjoys high regard among tens of millions of long-standing and loyal customers and we think that is thanks in part to our unending vigilance in protecting their inboxes.”
About Yahoo! Mail
Launched in October 1997, Yahoo! Mail (http://mail.yahoo.com) is one of the Web’s largest, most popular free e-mail providers. Yahoo! Mail helps people stay in touch at home, at work or while traveling for business or pleasure. Yahoo! Mail is fully integrated with Yahoo!’s many other popular services to make it easy to access all the Internet services people need. Yahoo! Mail has received a variety of prominent industry accolades including “Best Free E-Mail” for three years by PC World, and CNET Editors’ Choice awards.
Yahoo! Inc. is a leading provider of comprehensive online products and services to consumers and businesses worldwide. Yahoo! is the No. 1 Internet brand globally and the most trafficked Internet destination worldwide. Headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., Yahoo!’s global network includes 25 world properties and is available in 13 languages.
Helena Maus, Yahoo! Inc., 408-349-7085, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessie Anderson, Westhill Partners, 212-994-3831, email@example.com
1 Nielsen//NetRatings, May 2004
2 IPSOS-Insight, Sept 2003
3 Internal Yahoo! data