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Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang cracks a couple jokes and demos Yahoo's new plans at CES 2008 in Las Vegas.  (Source: Paul Sakuma/Associated Press)
Yahoo reaches a crossroads in its development; feels change is need to keep its competitors at bay

Some may not realize it, but Yahoo and is the most visited property on the web, with 136 million unique hits in November.  However, the firm struggles to deal with a lower profile image overshadowed by the business flash of companies like Google and Microsoft.

Google in 2007 managed to narrow the gap from 22 million to a mere 5 million, bringing the race for online dominance into a virtual dead heat.  Yahoo continues to grow, but Google is simply growing at a much faster pace.

To stave off these hungry competitors, Yahoo planned some major changes, according to CEO Jerry Yang, who delivered a keynote address at CES '08 last week.  Yang cracked a bit of a joke to start off the presentation, stating, "I’m guessing that a lot of you are here today to see what the new look and new face of Yahoo is all about.  Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you. It’s still the same old face. I’ve been around since the beginning."

From there on out Yang was all business, detailing how Yahoo will gamble on significant changes to reinvigorate its traffic and growth.  Yahoo showcased its new email hub that ties to social networks, so users can receive and prioritize messages.  It includes many new features, including the ability to tie into external third party applications; a la Facebook.

Yang feels that Yahoo Mail is Yahoo's most public face and needs to be at its best in order for the company to succeed.

Analysts are skeptical, though, whether the updated version of the mail system will have any major impact and whether Yahoo can avoid slipping.  One analyst, Mark Mahaney with Citigroup, remarked, "Maybe it’s too generous, but I would give them six to nine months to prove that these initiatives are having an impact.  It would have been unimaginable five years ago to think that Yahoo’s total audience would decline.  It is not unimaginable now."

Further the software platform to tie in third party remains months away by most estimations.

Meanwhile Yahoo is working to trim its excess and is cutting, combining, or otherwise eliminating Yahoo Photos, premium music, auctions and Yahoo 360, Yahoo's rather unpopular social networking site.  These sites experienced disappointing traffic in 2007, and now are going to be on the chopping block, as Yahoo tries to adopt a more practical "do what works" philosophy.

In a move that seems like common sense Yahoo, will also put more news and content on its front page based on the statistics on user searches.  For example if millions of users are looking up CES in June, even though one might not expect this, Yahoo will try to identify it and provide coverage on its main page.  Yang thinks this will attract significantly more followers to the homepage.

Slightly more surprising is Yahoo's choice to replace some of its links on its prime homepage real estate with links to popular external sites.  Yahoo's business and market research teams think that despite losing the extra traffic of self-redirecting, there will be a greater increase in total use because users will find the homepage's varied featured coverage more interesting.

Criticism and pressures are high for Yahoo and all eyes remain on what it can deliver on in 2008.

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yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By j@cko on 1/16/2008 2:43:02 PM , Rating: 2
Hotmail = absolutely terrible
Yahoo mail = cluttered but capable
Gmail = simply awesomeness

By Master Kenobi on 1/16/2008 2:48:42 PM , Rating: 4
I find the most recent iteration of Hotmail to be better than Yahoo Mail. Gmail I don't even bother with since all it does is serve my Outlook box :(

RE: yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By PLaYaHaTeD on 1/16/2008 2:59:07 PM , Rating: 5
you are wrong. yahoo mail's new interface is better than gmail.

With that being said, gmail is still my primary web based email account.

RE: yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By Snowy on 1/16/2008 3:01:22 PM , Rating: 3
Gmail's isn't fancy. It doesn't have pretty things to look at. But should a web mail service? I don't think so. Gmail is pure speed.

RE: yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By T4RTER S4UCE on 1/16/2008 4:33:30 PM , Rating: 2
That is whats pissing me right off about software today, developers often put look before usability. For example I love my Zune 30GB. I think it quite literally Pwns iPods, but iTunes beats the absolute living snot out of Zune when it comes to general usability. That's also why I prefered Netscape 9 (R.I.P.) over Opera 9.

RE: yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By ajfink on 1/16/2008 10:05:40 PM , Rating: 2
I own a Zune 30, love it, and use iTunes for listening to music on my PC.

By robinthakur on 1/17/2008 9:14:53 AM , Rating: 2
"I own a Zune 30"

So you're the guy that bought one! I always thought you were a figment of Steve Balmers imagination...

RE: yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By kristof007 on 1/16/2008 3:12:58 PM , Rating: 4
Hotmail = absolutely terrible
Yahoo mail = cluttered but capable
Gmail = simply awesomeness

Why is hotmail so terrible in your opinion? I get no junk mail in my inbox, have filter setup for my newsletters and it has been working for me for the last seven years.

RE: yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By lumbergeek on 1/16/2008 3:45:15 PM , Rating: 3
Concur - Hotmail (Live mail) is my primary now. It has been for some time.

RE: yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By glennerd7 on 1/16/2008 3:57:34 PM , Rating: 2
Ditto here! The new Hotmail is quite the sight.

RE: yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By anotherdude on 1/16/2008 5:40:33 PM , Rating: 2
ditto, again
usually best to give a few reasons when you trash something, else one assumes no reason

RE: yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By gramboh on 1/16/2008 5:55:13 PM , Rating: 2
Personally, I don't like the UI and hate seeing random ads (epsecially graphical). Gmail is faster too, you don't get full page reloads for doing every single action.

By Tegeril on 1/16/2008 7:17:02 PM , Rating: 2
This proves that you don't know what you're talking about. Live Mail does not refresh pages for every action. It works quite like Exchange web and is very fluid.

By InternetGeek on 1/16/2008 7:20:20 PM , Rating: 2
This is not the case anymore at least when managing your inbox. Otherwise switching tabs you do get a full refresh.

RE: yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By amanojaku on 1/16/2008 3:14:53 PM , Rating: 3
I'm curious as to how you're rating webmail sites. I have all three, as well as AIM accounts and I see no major differences. All receive email (otherwise they would be useless,) all get spam, all have ugly interfaces, and all get blocked from registering at sites like DailyTech due to abuse. The only advantage Gmail has is no advertisements, which to me is unimportant since I use FireFox with a few content-blocking plugins.

The reasons I have all of the major free email accounts are:

1) Hotmail - had it before Microsoft bought it in '97
2) Yahoo! - Had a Geocities page before Yahoo! bought them in '99
3) Gmail - Everyone said it would be THE (what?) email system
4) AIM - One day AOL gave all of its AIM users webmail

RE: yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By Murst on 1/16/2008 3:25:31 PM , Rating: 2
The only advantage Gmail has is no advertisements

So basically you're saying that Gmail has no advantages, since it has advertisements?

Or do you somehow manage to get Gmail w/o advertisements? I'm confused.

RE: yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By SpaceRanger on 1/16/2008 3:33:33 PM , Rating: 2
With Ad-blocking Addon's for Firefox, you can block from your view, most if not all the ads on a gmail webform.

That is what I think he's driving at.

Personally, I use all 4 as well (Hotmail, AIM, Yahoo, GMail) and they all suit their purpose.

By GaryJohnson on 1/16/2008 11:14:26 PM , Rating: 3
Or you can use a laser pointer to permanently blind yourself in the area of your vision where the ads appear.

By amanojaku on 1/16/2008 4:37:06 PM , Rating: 2
I was mistaken about the adds. They do exist, but only when viewing messages and they are plain text and barely noticeable. I might never have seen them if glennerd7 hadn't pointed them out! Bastard. :-)

Still, that's an advantage over Hotmail, Yahoo!, and AIM's animated GIFs and Flash ads. A minor advantage, with little to do with the functionality. So I stand by my earlier comment that the webmail services are too similar to make a difference. And no poster so far has said anything to convince me otherwise.

By glennerd7 on 1/16/2008 3:33:00 PM , Rating: 2
No ads???? I guess the sponsored links on the side of each message that takes up a third of the screen don't count! Not to mention Gmail has been in Beta status since inception. Also Gmail was by invitation only at one point. I bit pompous if you ask me.

I have to say, I never had a Gmail account or a Yahoo account until today to compare them. I feel the new Windows Live Hotmail has the most appealing look and the cleanest interface. You want to check out a cludgy interface, then look at Netzero.

RE: yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By EntreHoras on 1/16/2008 3:39:56 PM , Rating: 1
Hotmail: I have an account and I use it trough Outlook.
Gmail: I have an account and I use it trough Outlook.
Yahoo!: I Have an account and I seldom use it. Yahoo requires me to pay them to be able to use it through Outlook. They can wait for my payment.

By MarcLeFou on 1/16/2008 5:44:41 PM , Rating: 2
ypops will solve that for you.

free too.

RE: yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By kmmatney on 1/16/2008 4:32:15 PM , Rating: 2
The new Hotmail is pretty good.

By diego10arg on 1/16/2008 5:56:44 PM , Rating: 2
GMail is the way to go. I use it as primary and only email, messenger, googletalk, plus all the services in the google network. It is much faster than other providers.

With 6.3gb today, I use it also to check my work email so I can backup everything there. My company just give us .5 Gb of storage!

RE: yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By djcameron on 1/16/2008 5:16:04 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously? The new Hotmail interface is sooo much better than Gmail or Yahoo. I think their spam filter is better too.

By Hydrofirex on 1/16/2008 6:52:53 PM , Rating: 2
I've used Hotmail for a decade and it's only gotten better and better. I find Gmail to be over-done, and yahoo to be rather bland. Further you could include AIM mail, which isn't too bad IMO.

The new version of Hotmail is great (Hmmm, though it doesn't want to work properly with firefox - why would that be *grin*). I just wish the contacts, calendar, To-Do list et. al. would seamlessly work inside Outlook. I think this is the killer feature that would drive people to both your online and system based products.


RE: yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By wordsworm on 1/16/2008 8:37:40 PM , Rating: 2
I think Hotmail has come a long way. I don't really like the UI that Gmail offers. But... they do one thing that their competitors don't: It saves sent messages. It's for that reason alone I now stick to gmail.

Hotmail used to be pretty bad. But lately it's been much improved. It's much faster than before. I have to say the same of Yahoo. Of the three, I like Yahoo's best, except it doesn't save sent messages.

RE: yahoo mail v.s hotmail v.s gmail
By Fritzr on 1/17/2008 4:22:51 AM , Rating: 2
In Yahoo! Mail check your "sent" folder. If it doesn't contain copies of the mail you've sent then turn that on in options. I have to go in and clean that folder from time to time as it will save copies of sent messages until you remove them

Click on "options" at the top right, select "General Preferences" then under "Folders/Search Results" check "Special folders"->"save sent messages".

I also check "Block HTML graphics" since an external graphic link is a traditional way to generate a "mail has been opened" alert that works whenever email graphics are displayed.

Remember to cliok "save" after changing settings :)

Yahoo! is my primary, Gmail is secondary.
I prefer the Gmail interface today, but easier to keep the Ymail address that I had already been using for many years when Google finally created Gmail :)

By Shlong on 1/16/2008 3:50:55 PM , Rating: 2
I use google for my search (don't search much) & gmail (couple times daily) for my email, but I also spend a lot of time (multiple times daily) on yahoo for fantasy sports, so I guess it all evens out.

RE: Yahoo
By Mgz on 1/16/2008 4:39:00 PM , Rating: 3
yahoo 360 maybe unpopular in the US market , but in south east asia (Vietnam and phillipine from what I know at least) it is THE social networking site, and everybody and their dog have 1 Yahoo 360 blog.

too bad they don't gain much $$$ from those market tho

Forget about whose webmail is better
By FS on 1/16/2008 9:24:56 PM , Rating: 2
I am sure most people have as their homepage compared to MSN and Google. My homepage is Yahoo and I use Firefox's built in Google search most of the time, so it's not like I am being bias here.

PS: I am wondering, how people are still complaining about webmail speeds as if they were still on dial-up. Just fyi, I have 38Mbit/5Mbit connection.

By sixth on 1/16/2008 9:55:54 PM , Rating: 2
Primary - GMAIL
Secondary- Yahoo

One thing that I LOVE about Yahoo is the PUSH mail for the iPhone. I can see where they are going with getting email into everyones hands, and Push works great. My wife uses Gmail on her iPhone and I use Yahoo, love the instant emails :-)

Still wish yahoo would kill some of the advertisements on their webmail, plus I do like the ability to have folders and unlike gmails "tagging". Never got used to not having folders.

is Yahoo that much better?
By bond007taz on 1/16/2008 5:00:02 PM , Rating: 3
I use Google because it is fast and doesnt have a whole bunch of crap on the screen when i search. The email system is fast. I just associate google with clean simple apps that are fast and work. I associate Yahoo with a bunch of add-ons and bulky, not fast at all. It would take a lot for me to switch to Yahoo after using all the services that Google offers...

I use Yahoo
By mixpix on 1/17/2008 12:20:55 AM , Rating: 3
I've been a Yahoo Mail user for a long time. I've tried many other email services and I think its the best. G-mail would definitely be my 2nd choice.

I have no problem paying $20 a year for Yahoo's email service. Its worth getting rid of ads and enable POP. They just need to add IMAP support!

Yahoo isnt just mail
By Haltech on 1/16/2008 9:55:03 PM , Rating: 2
The only reason I like Yahoo isnt becasue of the mail service(I use Gmail) but its the Finance page is sooo much better then Google's.

Kinda Unique
By Xietsu on 1/17/2008 10:26:49 AM , Rating: 2
Haven't seen anyone mention this but the fact that, with your Gmail account, you can save bookmarks from your browser accessible from any internet-ready location is so very aiding to my needs as a consumer of Google's offerings. However, given that I've had my Yahoo! e-mail account for a decade (plus or minus a year or so), I do opt to retain it as my primary.

Yahoo can't go wrong with email
By Zensen on 1/17/2008 10:44:45 AM , Rating: 2
for the last what 8-9 years i've had a yahoo acct, it hasn't failed me nor has it had to compete with any other email acct as my primary email. At one stage hotmail did for it had msn as a backbone but hotmail still has it quirks - forwarding of images and what not and its css styles isn't fantastic but gmail is worse.

Gmail is a good system but it shows me nothing to make me want to use it as a primary email - I can use my email for a lot of things with yahoo but gmail/google portal and its other sites are not so important to me. It does sit a good third but I think its search capabilities are great and that's something I've enjoyed seeing yahoo finally step up to as well.

Gmail did alright with the chat box but again not something i use much but it reminded me of good ol punkmail which I had fond memories of and had use something very similar.

So I do hope to see yahoo improve in other areas and it has been a great starting page for me, something msn and google lack. more the merrier :D

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini
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