Looking to better integrate social media into its eponymous email application and stay ahead of rivals Google and Microsoft, Yahoo today debuted Yahoo Mail Beta.
Available to all Yahoo Mail users, the beta is consistent across desktop, mobile, and tablet devices, including PCs, iPhones, iPads, and Android phones, according to Yahoo. In addition, people can use Yahoo Mail Beta to connect with others via social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as through improved instant messaging and texting tools available through the email's inbox, the developer said.
"Online communication tools are an important part of people's lives -- whether they're connecting with their friends and family, sharing pictures and videos, or keeping up on news across social networks," said Blake Irving, chief product officer at Yahoo. "We've built a powerful global framework for email that lets us quickly innovate and enhance this trusted service that people rely on every day. Yahoo Mail Beta completes our trio of mail experiences, seamlessly spanning the PC, Droid, iPhone, and iPad."
In September, there were 94.6 million Yahoo Mail users, according to ComScore, down 10% compared with the 12-month prior period. By comparison, Google's email user base grew 25% to 49 million, and Microsoft's email service dropped 5% to 46.3 million, ComScore found.
The latest iteration of Yahoo Mail was designed to offer double the speed of the prior version for most users, according to Yahoo. Since users of the beta edition can more easily find messages from contacts and can use third-party applications from within the inbox, they are more productive, the developer said.
Given the popularity of social networks, Yahoo Mail Beta now lets users view and share updates from Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo, among others, from within the email application. In addition, the solution delivers seamless chatting and texting, Yahoo said. Users also can see photos and videos from within sharing sites including Flickr, Picasa, and YouTube from within their email messages.
Leveraging Yahoo's search technology, Yahoo Mail Beta also lets users navigate, sort, and search results by sender, date, attachment file, or folder location. The software also taps Yahoo's global cloud computing infrastructure to help protect email accountholders from spam.
Users can opt to switch between Yahoo Mail Beta, which is available in 25 nations worldwide, and existing versions of Yahoo Mail.