I signed up to beta test the new Yahoo! mail. Apparently the word “beta” is like crack to me. I had no problem with the old Yahoo! mail, aside from the fact that it was ugly and clunky and, you know, not in beta.

Staying in-touch is faster and simpler with the Yahoo! Mail Beta.

It took a long time for the new interface to load (which originally I attributed to newness, although it’s happened every time since). And then it took a long time for my messages to load. I’m not sure why they used the word “faster,” since that is clearly a lie. Perhaps by “faster” they meant “prettier.” It certainly is pretty. Even the ads that threaten to overpower the message viewing area seem more attractive than before.

It still does the thing I hate most about Yahoo! Mail, which you can see on the screenshot: the landing page. I click “My Mail,” and what do I see? A greeting (”Welcome, Jessica!”) and a note telling me how many messages I have. You know what? I could probably figure out how many messages I have by looking at them. I don’t need advance warning. It’s only one click, but that extra click causes me no end of annoyance.

Once I’ve gotten to my messages, the interface is much more like a desktop e-mail client than it was before. There’s a preview screen below the message list, just like in Mail. It does speed up the process of determining which messages are spam - no longer do I have to wait for the message to open in order to see if it’s something I want to keep. The folders are all listed in the sidebar, as are links to the calendar, notepad, and RSS feeds. People who use Yahoo as their primary portal will appreciate the integration.

All in all, the new interface seems much more modern and slick than the old one. If Yahoo! would get rid of the landing screen and find a way to decrease loading time, I might be persuaded to love my Yahoo! mail account the way I love my dot mac account.

technorati tags:yahoo mail, beta

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