Yahoo is working hard to woo Internet users by dramatically refreshing its online services and mobile apps. This week, Yahoo revamped its Mail apps for Android and iOS, along with its desktop apps. The updates are good ones, for the most part. And it’s mildly tempting to make the switch from Gmail. But I’m sticking with Google’s email service.
Here’s the first thing you should know about the new Yahoo Mail: It comes with 1TB of free storage. That’s a lot.
Google’s 15GB of free space, which can be used along with Gmail, Google Drive and Google+, looks downright miserly now. Yahoo recently gave Flickr users 1TB of free space, too. (Yahoo owns Flickr.)
Yahoo is also rocking it with visual themes, and you can use them in apps (to some degree) as well as the desktop. In the iOS app you get 36 themes to choose from, including beach scenes, sunsets, textures and a cute puppy. Strangely, however, I see no option to add a theme in the Android app, even though themes are listed as a new feature on the Yahoo Mail Google Play download page.
There’s another strike against the Android version, too. In my tests, it sometimes displayed an ad at the top of my inbox. This has yet to happen to me in the iOS app. Yahoo Mail on the desktop displays fairly large, and usually cheesy, ads. The one solace is that for $50 a year you can make them disappear. While you might balk at that price, consider this: For $50 a year, you can subscribe to Google Apps for Business, which currently only offers 30GB of storage.
In other regards, Yahoo Mail for Android and iOS is playing catch up to its competitors. Related messages are now grouped in conversational threads, for example. You can turn the conversation feature off in the settings.
The 1TB of free space is by far Yahoo Mail’s most tempting new feature. It’s pretty amazing, especially for those who, like me, only delete obvious junk mail and who treat their email accounts as archival databases.
But is that enough to inspire people entrenched in other email services, like Gmail and Outlook.com, to jump ship? I have my doubts. But you should keep an eye on Yahoo. This determined underdog is making bold, interesting moves, both in mobile and on the desktop. And it's just getting started.