Ina Fried

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Revamped Yahoo Mail Peels Off Beta Stamp

Yahoo announced late on Monday that it is ready with a final version of its updated mail software in an effort to regain momentum in the free Webmail arena, where it competes with Google and Microsoft.

In addition to offering speed improvements, the company is adding new features, such as the ability to respond to a Facebook message directly from within an email or see updates from Twitter. Some new features, such as the ability to view photo slideshows and YouTube videos from within an email are already part of rival services, such as Microsoft’s Windows Live Hotmail.

The revamped mail program, which has been in the works for about a year, also integrates instant messaging and text messages more deeply, archiving conversations by default. A built-in tool from YouSendIt is included for sending large files, with additional services built in for other tasks, such as tracking purchases or unsubscribing from bulk email. On the instant messaging front, users can now converse via Facebook Chat from within Yahoo Mail.

“Yahoo’s vision for online communications brings together all the tools that people use to connect–email, chat, SMS, and social updates–and makes it easier for them to share content and engage in conversations with the people that matter most to them,” Yahoo Chief Product Officer Blake Irving said in a statement.

Yahoo has been beta testing the new mail program since October. The company did a major overhaul of the mail service back in 2007.

Despite remaining the top email provider in the U.S. with close to 90 million accounts, Yahoo has been losing ground in recent years, dropping 7 percent in the U.S. and 1 percent globally over the last 12 months, according to ComScore.

On the mobile side, Yahoo said it is making a new version of its software available to Nokia. The Finnish cell phone maker signed a deal last year to have their email and chat features “powered by Yahoo.”


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