May 24, 2011

Yahoo Upgrading Its Email Service

Yahoo Inc. is giving its email service a facelift in an attempt to make it more appealing to people who are increasingly using Facebook, Twitter, Google and other online alternatives to communicate, according to various media reports.

About 277 million users of Yahoo's free email service will be switched to the new version during the next few weeks. 

The facelift enables updates to Facebook and Twitter accounts to be posted from within Yahoo's email boxes.  The revamped service is supposed to be two times faster and capable of sending attachments of up to 100 megabytes. 

"Yahoo's vision for online communications brings together all the tools that people use to connect--e-mail, 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 is hoping the changes will attract and retain email users during a time when more people are flocking to rival Google's Gmail service.

According to research firm comScore Inc., Yahoo's email users dropped about 3 million worldwide in the past year, while Google gained about 43 million users.

ComScore found that most of Gmail's gains come at the expense of Microsoft Corp.'s Hotmail service, which remained the global leader with 327 million users.  However, that number dropped 27 million compared to last year.

Yahoo's email upgrade is expected to be among the signs of progress that Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz will emphasize on Wednesday as she and other top company executives update analysts on their turnaround plan.


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