Last Friday I was finally invited to participate in the Yahoo! Mail Beta and I was immediately disappointed in the experience. From what I had read all over the internet since the Beta program was introduced, I thought the new Yahoo! Mail Beta was going to finally allow me to jump online and run all my 15 email accounts — I would settle for four — from one centralized location instead of having to use Outlook 2003 as my meter of reading, delivering and managing email.
You can see the new Yahoo! Mail Beta sure is pretty looking, though,
and an Outlook 2003 wannabee. Yes, you can drag-and-drop messages into
folders and yes, you have a tabbed interface, but the guts of the
Yahoo! Mail Beta experience are still bloodless and deadly.
Yahoo! Mail still does not support IMAP so if you want to move any
other email accounts online with Yahoo! as your mail processor you will
have to do it via POP3 access. That means Yahoo! will download all your
messages into Yahoo! only and keep them there and the only way you can
access them again is by logging into Yahoo! to see them.
I have an ongoing problem with Yahoo! Mail Plus in that it will not
allow me to verify an outside email address I want to use on their
system. If you cannot verify the email address, Yahoo! does not believe
you own the address and will not allow you to send mail from that
address — though you can download all the email you want for that
address. The problems is on their end — the verification code they’re
sending me isn’t being recognized by their confirmation system — but
trying to get them to fix it is like trying to get our soldiers out of
Iraq: It ain’t happenin’ anytime soon!
Another problem directly related with the Yahoo! Mail Beta is if you
want to add, modify or delete your third party email accounts you have
to do it all via the old Yahoo! Mail interface and when I make those
changes, Yahoo! Mail Plus/Beta crashes FireFox 1.5 really hard when
going back into Yahoo! Mail Beta view — so hard, in fact, that the
entire browser instantly dies no matter how many tabs were open and
there’s no way to get back what you were working on after Yahoo! Mail
Beta chows your browser, so beware!
Also, if you change the password for your third party email address you
will no longer be able to pull your mail or send mail from that account
because the old mail system does not appear to actively communicate
those changes to the new Yahoo! Mail Beta interface — so now the few
accounts I had set up and verified no longer work.
A good password scheme
requires frequent changes, but you cannot follow good password
protection with the new Yahoo! Mail Beta. There is something screwy
going on with how Yahoo! stores non-Yahoo! email account information on
their servers and it is severely broken.
You can get quick information on new mail messages with the mail
preview window. You can turn off the more detailed lower view if you
can create folders on-the-fly and drag messages into them and out of
them at will. You can also filter email messages and have them dumped
in the folder of your choice:
RSS feeds are a new feature found in Yahoo! Mail Beta and I didn’t have to set them up because Yahoo! Mail Beta grabbed all my My Yahoo!
RSS news feeds — without asking me first — and put them here in my
That means I now have duplicate RSS feeds on both My
Yahoo! and in my Yahoo! Mail Beta and that is a waste of my time and
Yahoo!’s space. I don’t mind reading my RSS feeds in Yahoo! Mail Beta
but then I want Yahoo! Mail Beta to delete the feeds in my My Yahoo!
view, too. Duplicating tasks makes no task easier or more enjoyable.
RSS feeds look good, but viewing the messages is painful because every
message in every feed gets made into one “long” message that you keep
scrolling to read and read in both full feed view or in individual feed
can also email RSS posts — right click on the message you want to
check and choose “Forward” and you’re set — and that is a nice
it ever gets fixed, you can also check mail accounts other than those
on Yahoo! and filter them and manage the messages and send mail from
Calendar is still using the old technology. Contacts management is
powerful, but adding new contacts is an ugly black, grey and white
interface process. You can easily set up Distribution Lists.
mail is fast and robust. Searching all my email messages for “Mail Plus
Customer” returned the following and the search terms are highlighted
Mail Beta has the potential to be an excellent online email system.
IMAP support must immediately be added to set it apart from Gmail and
MSN and other competitors. Yahoo! must also get the underlying broken
core fixed for third party accounts before finalizing the Yahoo! Mail
Then Yahoo! Mail Beta can begin to take up the challenge of
dethroning Outlook as the multiple email account management champ.