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.