There’s been a rash of overhauls among big web email providers recently, as other contenders appear to be joining Gmail in the 21st century at last. We saw it a few weeks ago with Hotmail – now Outlook – and their huge interface overhaul. Now, it looks like Yahoo! Mail will be joining the party with a complete visual overhaul of its own. All these recent updates look to be trying to accomplish more or less the same thing; a modern, minimalist interface that takes advantage of the interactive elements of HTML5 and modern web protocols.
In the case of the new Outlook, this effort to modernize was more or less successful, with many users praising the new interface as a vast improvement over the old Live/Hotmail interface. So far, the same appears to be true for the new Yahoo! Mail, which is looking like a huge improvement over the aging front end of the current Yahoo! Mail.
In addition to a facelift of their webmail client, Yahoo! has prepared a whole suite of software, for just about every popular platform. There’s a new Windows 8 app, a new iOS app, and a new Android app; all the new apps are available for free from their respective app stores now, and the web version is rolling out for most users over the next couple days.
The relaunch of Yahoo! Mail was announced via a post on the Yahoo! corporate blog, and they described the update thusly:
We’ve redesigned the new version of Yahoo! Mail with speed in mind — getting through your emails is faster than ever before. We’ve also made your inbox more intuitive and easier to navigate, allowing you to focus on what matters most: your messages. And, because mobile is everything these days, Yahoo! Mail now has a consistent look and feel across devices.
At the end of the day, a lot of what all the major webmail platforms are doing right now feels like playing catchup with Gmail. We’re not sure what the user base for the different platforms are these days, as the companies tend not to reveal that information when they’re in decline, but we’re pretty sure the glory days of Yahoo! and Hotmail are long over. These interface overhauls might be too little too late to do much more than prevent legacy users from leaving for a little longer. At least they’re trying, though, right?