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Yahoo Mail upgrade - too late and diagonal

New Yahoo Logo || Source: Razilabs
Yahoo! has been a struggling tech giant for almost a decade now - especially since the rise of Google and later Facebook. Yahoo! which was the original haven for geeks and the Social Network cum a goto destination for everything else online in the 2000s has had to hire Google's ex-executive Marissa Mayer as its CEO to stay afloat.

Recently, Yahoo revamped the UI for its (still) most relevant service Yahoo Mail along with a populist looking gift of 1 TB storage. Mayer was probably borrowing a page from her ex-employers' book by offering a bonanza storage along with some other features copied from its service GMail. As Times of India puts it:
Yahoo's free email service is becoming a bit more like Google's Gmail as part of its second makeover in less than a year. The similarities to Gmail probably aren't coincidental. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer helped design some of Gmail's features while she was a top executive at Google.
My take on this latest roll out is that it's not going to work! There are several reasons for this - the prime being that most of it is too little too late - introducing "threads" now, which was introduced by GMail when it launched (which it calls conversations) way back in 2005, is really not going to cut any ice with the power users. Also, its too little and too diagonal to the direction of the tech world as such; there's no juice or attraction left in storage space now, because most heavy attachments like photos etc are no longer sent by mail - they are all on Facebook or Picasa or Flickr etc.

That apart, there are Yahoo Mail has 3 big problems to surmount:

  1. Interface - those who love GMail for its filters, its slick, clean look don't find the new YMail interface good - its clumsy, slow and most of all, non-intuitive.
  2. Spam - I was using my YMail account for almost 5 years after I started using GMail; at least for non-newsgroup 1-to-1 communications and banking alerts etc. But the reason I moved 100% to Gmail was Yahoo's inability to control Spam. 
  3. Stickiness - I don't use Yahoo Mail also because there is no reason to come back to YMail if I don't get emails - this is more true for the new generation of users like today's teens. For GMail there's Google Plus through which Google is now head on with Facebook (and other upstarts like Whatsapp). Yahoo had (and in a minor way still has) that ability to combine its most loyal platform eGroups and other services like Flickr etc to leverage the audience across platforms on a single platform. To do that, they need something like Google Dashboard to start with and then move on the further integration between these services. I had thought that would be the first leaf Mayer would pluck out of Google's book - but they haven't implemented any integration between services till date.
Unless Yahoo Mail (and Yahoo!) solves the above 3 challenges, smaller tweaks or the 1 TB bribe its trying to entice users with, are not going to help them win any market share.

3 Comments to " Yahoo Mail upgrade - too late and diagonal "

  1. Hi,
    Came across your blog by chance. Good to see such a well maintained blog. I run a business blog in which many authors contribute their articles, would you be interested in sending your articles. Please keep in mind though that the articles you send us cannot be posted in any other site/blog and would be posted with full credits along with a short bio and link to your blog. If you would be interested, drop us an email at ideasmakemarket@gmail.com.
    Blog URL: http://www.ideasmakemarket.com/

  2. Hey Nikhil
    I wanted to get in touch with you . Nowhere on your site the email Addess is mentioned .
    Please could you let me know on how to get connected ?

  3. You can contact me via nikhilkulkarni.com - leave a message there, I will get back.

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