gmail beta vs yahoo mail beta

October 1st, 2006

By now everyone knows gmail, it's practically become a verb, just like google. Yahoo then, not wanting to trail too far behind, has stepped up its efforts to polish off its webmail offering to match gmail. gmail offers 2.7gb of storage space, yahoomail gives you 1gb, either way it's much more than anyone will ever need. Of course, yahoomail has been around for a very long time, it long outlives gmail. And it has received periodic updates and improvements over time, but the new yahoomail beta is supposed to rival gmail - big headlines, big launch, big news.

My software engineering books would always mention "the zero solution". Before you start building a new system, you have to compare its cost and projected benefit against the current system. What will be the benefit of the new system compared to doing nothing at all? This is how you would determine whether the project has any kind of potential at all. In that spirit, let's spare a thought for the soon-to-be-extinct old yahoomail, the existing solution.

But before we do anything, let's mark out the perimeter. In the upcoming screenshots, I've allocated 828x588 pixels to Firefox, which is exactly the amount of space it gets on my desktop. Each of the services will be presented in that space. Free webmail services tend to support themselves with advertising, so that is a necessary evil for us users. To make this more obvious, I've marked out, in pink, the areas on the page which contain either advertising or endorsement of the site's own services.

yahoo_old.png

Starting with the existing yahoomail, the service, I'd say, is quite functional. When I log in, I come to an "overview page", which is basically Yahoo's pretext for showing me ads. It also has some clearly non-localized stories from Associated Press which I've never even looked at. I've learned to ignore this page and click on my inbox, which opens the page shown in the screenshot. Here I have a list of messages, with folders on the left. Clicking on a message takes me to it (no AJAX, so I have to wait for a new page to load), but I can middle-click to open a bunch of messages in separate tabs, which I often do. This interface can be quite slow at times (whenever my connection is poor, or yahoomail is overloaded), so loading each new messages can take a while in those circumstances. There is an address book, and I can explicitly add entries to it by typing in new contacts. The message composer is very basic, but it has auto-completion for typing in email addresses in the recipient field (pulled from the address book, naturally). yahoomail has a spam filter, suspected spam lands in my Bulk folder, but I have mixed results with the filter. The ads are all concentrated on the left sidebar and aren't intrusive at all, the trained eye can easily ignore them. The total screen area occupied by ads is 6.6%.

gmail.png

Then came gmail, and made big, big waves. No other webmail service has made so much noise before. Well, gmail was one of the first mainstream websites to introduce AJAX to the world. When I log into gmail, I immediately see my inbox. This tends to take a little while, apparently there are quite a few things to load behind the scenes. But once it pops up, I see what the screenshot shows. Again, I have a list of messages front and center, with a list of folders on the side. It also displays my contacts below that. Interestingly, the contact list is not a static entity, it is built dynamically out of contacts with which I exchange emails. So I don't have to type in entries in my address book manually, it is done for me. (As a small sidebar, I can also use the contact list to chat with my contacts over googletalk, without leaving my inbox.)

Clicking on a message here opens the message on the same page, which is quicker than loading a new page. Unfortunately, middle-clicking on the message title doesn't work here. gmail is packed with AJAX functions, however. For instance, marking messages as spam removes the message from sight dynamically. The message composer is a bit more advanced, there is a rich editor available, and a built-in spell checker. Once again, auto-completion for typing in message recipients (pulled from my dynamic contact list). gmail's spam filter is very good, I only get the odd message in my inbox that doesn't belong there. The advertising is also very discrete, just text, no images, and blends right in with the rest of the page. The advertising area is 4.4% of the page.

The search function, powered by google, enables me to find old messages with good accuracy, which is something yahoomail doesn't have at all.

yahoo_beta.png

gmail isn't news, it was news. Let us then turn to what is news presently - the new yahoomail beta. The new service has received some glowing reviews, I won't bother digging for them - those who have written it know who they are. yahoomail beta is Yahoo!'s response to gmail, then. Let's see how they compare. The first thing very striking about the new service is the amount of advertising they have put on it. It's impossible not to notice this, it immediately strikes me as one of the more ad infested websites I use. The pink bits here make up for a total of 20.8% of the whole page. Do you see the little arrow in the bottom right corner? The tooltip for that reads "Click to scroll down to view the rest of this advertisement". How adorable is that? Has anyone ever scrolled to see more of an ad? Okay, let's put that aside for now. Logging into yahoomail beta again opens an "overview page", which is again just a place to display ads and news stories. I'm not the slightest bit interested in news, I'm looking for my email. So I click on the Inbox tab.

This is Yahoo hoping that frames will come back in style. I have a list of my messages, with a display area below it, just like in most mail clients. So when I click on a message title, I see the message in the display area. Below the message display area there's an endorsement for Yahoo's calendar, which I have absolutely no use for (and it's impossible to remove the little ad to better use the available screen space). On the right, there's a huge ad. This interface is horrid design. Web design 101 says every website should be tested across a wide range of screen resolutions, to make sure it functions well in them all. Either Yahoo is oblivious to this, or they just don't care. At the same time, the fonts have become smaller, which suggests that the pages aren't meant to be viewed at high screen resolutions anyway (ie. they really want you to have that kind of ads-to-content ratio). With the amount of space occupied by ads, the list of messages and the message display area beneath is squashed in between frames, and is a real pain to use. When I open my inbox, I only see about 7 messages in the list, and there's no way for me to scroll the page, because the list is in a damn frame. When I click on a message title, I get about 5 lines of message text displayed in the display area, which is about as convenient as reading the same message off the screen of a cell phone. And this is it, there is no "open message in a new tab/window" or anything like that, this is the only way to view messages. The most important element of a webmail system is browsing the inbox and reading messages, and Yahoo have completely botched it. I could just as well end it here and declare yahoomail beta a broken service. But in the spirit of completeness, let's finish this.

On the left, I have my list of folders, and a new search box to search my email, which I guess is a brand new gmail-ish feature that yahoomail beta is hoping will make it possible for us users to maintain some idea of our email history. The classic yahoomail really lacks this, it only gives me an option to browse old messages, 25 message titles per page, until I find the one I'm looking for.

The address book does not seem to have changed in the new yahoomail, I still have to add contacts by hand. The spam filter I imagine is the same as with classic yahoomail, but I haven't used the service long enough to know for sure. The message composer has been given a makeover, it now has a rich text editor and a spell checker. There are some AJAX additions to the interface, like "dynamic" spam classification of messages (like gmail has). But these additions are very underwhelming considering how slow and bulky the service generally feels. There are way too many ads, gmail's pages are much simpler and more to the point.

gmail is head and shoulders above yahoomail beta, it is intelligently designed to be efficient and "smart". yahoomail beta is a patchwork of half baked ideas and compromises, which results in a service that is less functional than the original one. yahoomail beta is not about to win significant market share unless it gets a complete redesign (which is generally not something you do with beta software). I am migrating my email increasingly to gmail, and the launch of yahoomail beta has begun to speed that up.

In a few parting words, here are some of the quotes yahoomail beta proudly prints on its opening page.

  • "The new interface is stunning in its simplicity and ease of use."
    — PC Magazine
  • "Yahoo! Mail came out on top again."
    — Associated Press
  • "Graceful, swift, and respectful of your privacy, Yahoo! Mail Beta makes a gracious e-mail host..."
    — CNET

Enough to impress executives, is it? But will it fool the users? Not a chance.

EDIT: Apparently the classical yahoomail does have a facility to search in messages, this seems to be a recent addition as I've never seen it before.

:: random entries in this category ::

69 Responses to "gmail beta vs yahoo mail beta"

  1. Brian says:

    Great review. I mostly agree except for a few areas...

    1. Personally even gmail's ads are too much for me. I'm disgusted with ads in general.
    2. You can turn off the Yahoo Beta preview pane. There's a little "Hide pane" link. Then if you double-click an email it opens in a new AJAX pseudo-tab in the yahoo page. This is only very marginally less stupid than the preview pane though.
    3. I think you're wrong that it's not going to fool users. I know a lot of people who love Yahoo mail and will love this new version. People don't care about ads, from what I've found. Or they hate them, but they tolerate them.

    Nice writeup though. The comparison of ad space in terms of % of screen real-estate is interesting to see. If you posted one for the Yahoo "welcome page" I wonder what it'd be. 50%+?

  2. erik says:

    "yahoomail gives you 1gb, either way it’s much more than anyone will ever need."

    I disagree:

    You are currently using 475 MB (17%) of your 2769 MB.

    :proud:

  3. ash says:

    Very thorough but, as Brian pointed out, you don't seem to have explored Yahoo's Beta enough. You can turn off the preview pane by pressing 'V' and double clicking on a message opens it in a new tab within Yahoo Mail. In fact you can navigate between folders and it automatically puts them in seperate tabs. Composing a new message opens a new tab too so you can easily switch between reading old e-mails and writing new ones.

    And I'm one of those people who don't care too much about ads. I mean it's a free service, it has to be paid for somehow. As long as it isn't too distracting I'm fine with it. Gmail is good but is hasn't quite won me over yet.

  4. Vinit says:

    I agree with Erik.

    "You are currently using 1301 MB (47%) of your 2769 MB."

  5. numerodix says:

    I know about the tabs, Ash, though I didn't make a point of bringing it up. The only thing I didn't know was hiding the preview pane and opening messages in tabs. But that doesn't change how bad the interface is, very slow in use and a real pain if you have lots of messages in the inbox (as I do) to scroll in the little frame, cause that makes the list reload all the time. Have you seen the right-click javascript popups on those pages? They're very slow.

    And if you like to see the full headers (as I do), the old message display interface is changed and you can no longer open messages showing the full headers anymore, it just comes up in a popup now, which takes 3 seconds to load when I use it.

  6. Sameer says:

    Most of your review focuses on screenspace, but your screen is pretty small, and that's a pretty unbalanced review. I have used the new yahoomail beta and it is perfectly usable at larger resolutions, which is what I guess a lot of users have and the reviewers used..

  7. Brice says:

    Don't claim to be doing a fair comparison if you aren't going to. The interface may be slow on your computer but it's snappier than gmail on my machine. The popup menu on message displays almost as fast as Thunderbird menus and is very usable. Yahoo mail also allows you to pay for their email, completely removing all ads for $20/year. As a user of both mail services, I will say both offer a very usable email client. The tabbed message display in Yahoo makes me feel more at home as I use the tabbed browsing feature in Firefox a great deal, it's easy to move from message to message and from message to composer frame. If I was trying to pick just one web mail client, I really wouldn't care which one, they both get all the basic functions done without crashing my browser.

  8. Willi says:

    Hey dude,

    You didn't compare Hotmail! I wanted to see how much of the page was pink with ads.

  9. yahoomailuser says:

    hmmm, am I the only one experiencing painfully slow rendering times with folders that have a lot of messages?

  10. Acitta says:

    The one thing that both of these services don't provide that I wish they did, is IMAP access. They only provide POP access. AOL has also recently revamped their webmail in a similar way and it has IMAP access. Since I have quite a number of email addresses, I prefer to use an email client.

  11. Monkofdoom says:

    Firstly a very good article, it was about the right length to cover the topic and I believe it gave a balanced view of the 2 (3) services.

    From reading through the comments I've noticed people stating that you may not have looked into yahoo mail beta enough but then how many users look deeply into the options? By exploring only the default setup an oppinion is given which could be more associated with the basic user.

    Personally I'm not a big fan of Yahoo and this new mail service is just another thing they are going to show people "what not to do".

    Keep up the good work.

  12. Robin says:

    Amature review, you claim you knew about the tabs but didnt make a point of bringing it up? Actually you made a point of saying they didn't exist ! "there is no “open message in a new tab/window” or anything like that, this is the only way to view messages." Next time, actually some time using the product. I'm a gmail user myself, but really dislike dishonest reviews.

  13. sven says:

    that quote of the day in gmail interface is NOT ad, it just contains whatever you choose. and you can turn it off, just like i did.

  14. marc says:

    Someone else called you on the "1GB is more than anybody could ever need", saying they were already using 475 MB. Um. I've been using gmail for less than a year and am already at 800+ MB, and on my hard drive I have over 10GB worth of mail. That's only about 5 years worth, too. No spam is included in that tally.

  15. Dave says:

    My experience is somewhat different. I assume it is because I am a Verizon subscriber and get a premium yahoo account through the Verizon/Yahoo partnership, but I see virtually no ads in my Yahoomail. My problem with Yahoomail is that it is lacks the simplicy and elegance of the gmail interface. The one thing I really do like is the addressguard feature which allows me to create aliases that route mail into my inbox (or other folder I designate), but which I can delete at any time. This means I can give out an email address to companies, and get my commercial email at my primary address without risking turning it into a spam magnet, AND I can identify who sold my address to spammers.

  16. Indrajeet says:

    This is very well written piece and I cannot agree more with the author. Yahoo has failed miserably in its bid to outdo Gmail. The ads are too annoying and the godzilla sized features takes the page ages to load.

  17. Bwana says:

    "The search function, powered by google, enables me to find old messages with good accuracy, which is something yahoomail doesn’t have at all."

    Uhhh.. See that search box under the Check mail button? Yeah, that's what it's for.

    "yahoomail beta is a patchwork of half baked ideas and compromises, which results in a service that is less functional than the original one."

    Perhaps you need to use Yahoo Mail a bit more. I'm not convinced Yahoo Mail Beta is lacking like you depict it is. This article sounds like you started using Yahoo Mail with your mind already made up.

  18. Yahoomail is awesome says:

    Been using the Yahoo mail beta for sometime now. I'm using the paid for version 20.00 bucks a year, more storage space, NO ADS. If you have a good connection it works great. Built in anti virus, built in spam blocker that you can train and make batter. Access other e-mail accounts in the same display. Address guard. The review of this article is rather harsh, and too bias.

    I have a Gmail account too I prefer my Yahoo mail account. Also after using Yahoo mail beta, I would probably never use an e-mail client again.

  19. GraemeL says:

    You can turn off the quote of the day type messages at the top of the inbox in gmail by going into settings -> Web clips and unchecking the checkbox at the top of the page. This leaves you with just the other Google services links at the top of the page.

  20. SmartGuy says:

    Your review has inaccurate information.

    1. Yahoo Mail Beta does include a way to open messages in a new window. Just double-click on any message.

    2. Yahoo has had the "search your email" function for a while now, especially after GMail introduced it.

    Yes, the new Yahoo Mail Beta isn't so great, apart from the AJAX hype. At least you got that bit right. I'm sticking with GMail until something better comes along.

  21. Henk says:

    Interesting review. Amusingly, it suffers from the same ignorance as most other IT folk: a vanishingly small number of them are business people. Yahoo doesn't care about the small number of "in the know" power users such as yourself, or me. They care about the mass market. Gmail? To the public out there, jeemail means nothing. Yahoo! is happening!

    That's why they're rich, and you're a nobody with a wordpress site with a total of 5 comments on your article...

    :-)))

  22. TG says:

    Having looked at the beta of Yahoo! mail, I turned it on one day to see what it was like. Bad, bad mistake, and instantly went back to the 'classic' version. To say it's ugly is an understatement. I don't know what marketdroids convinced Yahoo! that this was a good idea (rejects from Microsoft, perhaps?) but the beta had either better remain beta or my mail service will be permanently moving to gmail (not that it already hasn't, but I still use part of Yahoo! mail as a spamcatcher.)

  23. Joshua says:

    If your only experience with email is typical webmail apps like the old yahoo mail, hotmail, etc., then gmail would of course be awesome. But if you are a professional user that has come to like using desktop apps (like outlook, apple's mail.app, thunderbird), then you will like me find that yahoo mail beta is a great web app that doesn't require you to learn different systems for each of your email accounts.

    Also the comparison of advertisment space between gmail and 'ymail' is inaccurate, since once you open a message in gmail, about 1/5th of the right hand side is advertisements.

    Next time you decide to blast a product, try getting the facts straight.

  24. Kris says:

    On my desktop, Yahoo Beta is okay... on my laptop which is limited to 1024x768, the ads leave you so little room to view your messages. If Yahoo forces us to use this beta version instead of the classic one, I'll be switching to gmail poste haste.

  25. gabrielle says:

    I cannot judge Yahoo's new beta machine against its classic client because I'm using Windows 98!!!

    Yes, I know Win98 is prehistoric, but I'm temporarily bound to it -- and Yahoo apparently views that as an inexcusable affront: when I tried to use their beta, they threw me the message that the new Yahoo only works with Windows 2000 and after...!!!

  26. HardwareLust says:

    Yeah, I have to say, as a long term Yahoo! mail user (and a Yahoo! mail beta user since inception), I'm still not overly impressed with gmail (Mainly because I think the interface is clunky), and your article did nothing to change my viewpoint. Now, admittedly I pay for premium service, so I don't see any ads, and I have no intention of trying to switch to something new anytime soon. I've been using Yahoo! mail for so long (basically since Yahoo! started doing email), it would be painful at this point to try and switch the hundreds of contacts I have over to gmail, so I'm pretty much stuck with it. (My old job used to be 100% travel, so web-based mail was mandatory long before the rest of the world fell in love with it. In the old days, when Hotmail was Yahoo's only competition, Hotmail was so bad, it was laughable. Also, my company at one point had blacklisted Hotmail because of spam. It has improved since then, but still a distant 3rd in this race.)

    Of course, nothing is perfect, and I'm not 100% happy with Yahoo! either. The beta version can be painfully s-l-o-w even over a fast connection, and it has a disturbing tendency to get "confused" at times, especially if you have lots of large folders (the soap errors come fast and furious with those!) The developers of Yahoo! mail could certainly have done a lot more work on it before releasing it into the wild.

  27. Ceco says:

    You forgot to emphasize how dog slow Yahoo Mail Beta is. On an Athlon XP 2000 machine, there is a very perceptible lag after every action. It is annoying as sh*t. It makes Yahoo Mail beta completely unusable for me. Yes, Athlon XP 2000 is not top of the line, but it should be _more than enough_ to browse Internet and read e-mail.

    This craze to make Ajax applications look like local ones is completely absurd. JavaScript and HTML (running in a single-thread browser like Firefox, for example) are a very environment for that. It will always be clumsy and slower than alternaive solutions.

    That said, my wife loves the new Yahoo interface, and since she happens to access it from a Core Dup laptop, it is snappy for her. I can't convince that gmail is better.

  28. Anon A Mouse says:

    I completely agree about the interface. It only becomes useable if I make my browser full screen on smaller displays, or much wider than a normal web page on my 1600x1200 display. If you require me to change how I web browse to view your site, or to not be able to see my other applications while I use your site, you've lost me.

    You can use adblock in Firefox to block the ads, but you still have the problem of the ad frames taking up screen space, in exactly the places where you need it to make the interface usable.

  29. Wovel says:

    Poorrly written and poorly researched. You do realize Beta is not part of the name of either service? Just because google has left gmail in a beta testing mode for about forever does not mean that is part of the name of the service. It is certainly not the part of the name of a service at yahoo.

  30. Dennis says:

    One major problem I see with Yahoo mail beta is just how painfully slow the beast is. Speed it up and it will be a killer. Otherwise it's just too painful...

  31. Web says:

    Click my name to see a real side by side. 1280x1024 like most of us. Who uses a res of 828×588? You'll see that Yahoo mail uses a _nearly identical_ ammount of space for advertising as gmail. Also, gmail displays new advertising for every message you read as opposed to Yahoo where adds stay consistent and don't creep you out by reading keywords out of your personal messages.

    You'll also notice that I have nearly 5000 messages in my yahoo inbox. When Y-Mail beta started I admit that it was very slow at displaying such a large quantity of messages, since then it has become much better. Messages appear almost instantly when I click on them, scrolling up and down has very minimal delay (Far shorter than clicking "next page" on gmail), search is as fast (or faster) than gmail but can be done in a new tab. Also, search displays results as it finds them instead of finding all of them before showing them to you like gmail does.

    Yahoo mail supports many shortcuts. I've come to love these. To compose a new message all I have to do is click "N" and a new tab opens. To delete a message I just click "del."

    Overall, I find myself able to manage my large inbox and reply to messages at least twice as fast as I can in gmail. Yahoo has done a fantastic job in creating a slick, practical, and useful mail client that far outdoes any competition.

  32. gmail convert 7 mos ago says:

    I was a long time user of eudora, then outlook, then evolution, then kmail, then thunderbird.

    A friend persuaded me into gmail and I've never been happier. It has changed the way I use email.

    I have full access to all my mail from everywhere. A lot of storage space, which hopefully will continue to grow. The conversation paradigm, search function and organizing labels (vs. folders) are genius. The advertising space is sparse and can be further reduced as others point out above. You can still use a separate mail client but I no longer see a reason to.

    Gmail is my favorite discovery since Linux and firebird (aka firefox).

  33. Web says:

    Oh. Here's a small easter egg in Yahoo mail. When composing a message click the button labeled "Subject:" for a random (and often funny) subject to be suggested.

  34. Andrew Suares says:

    I think the greatest advantage of Yahoo! over Gmail is the option to signup for a paid account. This gets rid of all the ads completely.

    I do agree that the AJAX on Yahoo! beta can be a bit slow at times.. But I suppose the dev team will iron out the bugs with ongoing feedback..

    Its about time that Yahoo! _had_ to update their web email interface. The mail beta is a great start!

  35. Tom says:

    I'm using a not-so-small resolution of 1900x1200, so the screen real estate isn't that much of a problem and I'm paying for it, so less advertisement, but twice Yahoo has offered me to try the beta version (the first time was about 4 months ago) and twice, I've switched back to the old format. The first time, I gave the 2 weeks benefit of the doubt, but after that I couldn't stand it anymore. The second time I went back after a hour.

    The workflow is just too slow. We're talking fractions of a second here, but it's sufficient to annoy me (just like Outlook at work annoys me). I too use tabs to open multiple messages at the same time.

    Oh, and I'm dreading the moment where they'll upgrade for all users: my mother is not a computer wiz, but by now quite at ease using Yahoo Mail. Retraining all over when they're going to make the final switch. Blah.

  36. Jason says:

    OK, the biggest pain isn't even mentioned! There is NO Download ALL Attachments with Yahoo! mail, but there is with GMail... I haven't migrated with hopes Yahoo adds this.

  37. Curtis says:

    Hmm.. I have been using this Yahoo Mail Beta for about a year now. I have been paying for Yahoo! Mail Plus now for 4, 5 years or something. This gives me alot more space (2gb), ad free mail, and pop3 access for $20 a year. Considering this is the closest any webmail interface has been able to come to a desktop application's reliability i will continue to use and pay Yahoo! for this.

  38. Ariel says:

    I've been using Yahoo mail Beta since 1st day it came and, despite some of the issues you mention, it presents a much more dynamic and responsive UI.

    And it's a Beta, that's what Beta's are for, right?

  39. Brendan says:

    Seems like a very biased and uninformed review, which just makes you sound like a Google fanboy. GMail is my primary account, but I do have to say that the Yahoo interface is a lot slicker than GMail's, but it seems like you only looked very superficially at it. Also you say Yahoo 'has “dynamic” spam classification of messages (like gmail has)'. Yahoo has had this before GMail existed, and for me at least it's far better than GMail's. Maybe 1 out of 200 of Yahoo's spam gets through, with GMail it's 1 out of 20-30.

  40. Sameer says:

    I am sorry to say this but I think your review is very biased. And it's pretty ungraceful of you to not admit that you goofed up on not knowing about the tabs.
    I appreciate your effort, and probably you were not expecting as much of an audience; else I am sure you would've given more attention to what you write.

  41. Juan Nospam says:

    - It's not fair to count the serach box in yahoo as advertising but don't count it as one in gmail

    - The thing in the bottom is calendar, not advertising

  42. Kevin says:

    Interface aside, one reason I'll never use gmail is spam. I got a gmail account a year or 2 ago, but I never gave the address out. In fact, I've never used it at all. A month ago, I logged on and was shocked when I found hundreds of spam mails in my box (most in the spam folder, but that's beside the point). OTOH, I've had a yahoo account that I've never given to anyone but friends, and I've yet to get a single spam, and I've had it for at least a year longer than the gmail account.

    I can only conclude that either Google has sold the account list or their security is lacking. Either way, I'll stick with yahoo (though I'll likely stick with the older interface).

  43. jon says:

    I've used pretty much all of the main webmail services over the years, (i refuse to use email clients that download all messages (including viruses) to my pc), and still keep coming back to yahoo as my main source of reading my mails. I have used their paid for service for a couple of years now and have no problems with it at all. It does what i need it to and that's what matters in the end.

  44. rizzo says:

    One thing that really annoys me is that upon login, it throws you into the Home tab which is filled with news and services. I am here to read freaking email, that's why I come here. If I want news, I'll go to news.yahoo.com.

  45. Art says:

    As someone mentioned before, "The thing at the bottom is the calendar, not advertising." In addition, you *can* turn it off! (It's a Mail Option.)

  46. Hahnsoo says:

    It seems that most of the happy Yahooligans are paying for their mail service, which is a great choice if you don't want to worry about ads. Still, you would have to make equivalent comparisons when talking about the two different products, and if G-mail ever comes out with a pay-to-play option, then we would be cooking with fire. The ads on both sites are pretty equivalent (i.e. ignorable) and I guess that really boils down to personal preference. I can see Yahoo stepping up their ads to include annoying screen-blocking promotions and such... meanwhile, G-mail has been content to show you one-liner text boxes, without stepping it up to get in your way.

    G-mail gets a lot of fire from Yahoo mail fanatics and vice versa. G-mail does something different with the conversation-based e-mail threads (which read very similar to a forum in my inbox) and the labels (which I find to be faster and easier to use than digging through folders). For folks who like more "traditional" e-mail clients, I suppose Yahoo would be more inviting. I'll admit that it took about 6 months before G-mail really grew onto me, but that's when I found the search, labels, and conversation-based e-mail threads to be a real boon over all of my other e-mail accounts (along with effective spam protection, for once). Before that, I would have been happy with my previous e-mail accounts because they did what I needed and nothing more, but now I expect more out of e-mail, which g-mail delivers.

    Yahoo's mail beta runs slower on my machines than G-mail, but that's one aspect where YMMV. Same with the Spam, which I haven't had much problems with in G-mail but get railed pretty badly under Yahoo; I definitely realize that these are mostly based on subjective experience rather than any flaw in either mail system.

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned is remote mobile access... does Yahoo have this feature? It's trivial for the digirati to set up a mail client on their phone/PDA through POP3, but for the general public, the mobile web browser is typically the most familiar option... gmail can be accessed through http://m.gmail.com.

    I'm surprised there aren't any comments about the Microsoft Live Mail Beta (yet another ad-supported free e-mail). Of course, I find the Live Mail Beta to be pretty clunky and slow to load, compared to both Yahoo and G-mail.

  47. yousuck says:

    this is bad review!

  48. brijesh says:

    I love gmail for the simplicity of its interface (without the unnecessary choices of different views etc.). A very useful gmail feature is the "View as HTML" option to view attachments in the browser without downloading them.
    I've started using it to the point where I store documents and other information that I need to access remotely as gmail conversations - just a quick search away.

  49. SIDHARTH says:

    Absolutely brilliant work. You have hit the nail on the head. Yahoo is all about intrusive advertising. The ads seem to be in your face and irritating. Gmail has very subtly not placed any ads on the first page (we can remove the web clips) and have put a link on top left for their own services which is again occupying very little place. As far as ease of use and simplicity go GMAIL is the winner. Its like USA fighting Surinam in a war. There can be only one winner

  50. narollah says:

    is yahoo who the new whipping boy, like M$? you are getting a usefull little free service, stop fraking whining. if it does need you pandering requirements froma free service, use another one.

    God it bugs me that whine and carry on about something that works just fine, out of jealousy

  51. revlee says:

    I tried the new Yahoo Beta, but switched back to the old mail interface. With the right hand advertising column taking so much space, it forced some email to have to scroll horizontally.

  52. Miguel says:

    I have to disagree with you the responsiveness of Yahoo. You haven't specifically said what feels slow about the mail service besides the full header view which loads in less than a second on my computer. Until today I used a 1Ghz AMD (now 2400 XP) computer. Today or before have not had a problem with the speediness of the beta service. Exactly what is slow?

  53. legocoach says:

    One of the glaring issues which may be resolved later on is browser compatability. I like to use Opera, and Yahoomail beta never loaded in that browser. It said it had, but all I got was the top sort of navigation bar, and a blank white screen. I have yet to try it in Mozilla/Firefox.

  54. Kate says:

    I HATE that I can't edit onscreen. It annoys that I can not move phrases around, nor cut and paste into or out of the message. This is true in gmail and yahoo.

  55. 4PLaY says:

    I think the whole point to this review is that the reviewer does not use paid services, so there is no point in comparing that to the products in review, there is no mention of MS Live mail or hotmail in the review, so comments about those are also irrelevant

    I completely understand what the reviewer is going on about.

    using either yahoomail or gmail, types in his username, password and waits to see his email.

    yahoo experience after clicking on logon:

    1. wait a few seconds
    2. loaded overview page ( ad page )
    3. click on inbox .. wait a few seconds
    4. loaded inbox browse messages ( still loading image ads sometimes flash ads )

    note: the flash ads take more resources from a PC and take more time to load.

    gmail experience

    1. wait a few seconds
    2. loaded inbox (no image ads no flash ads)

    note: it has those 1 liner text ads, and also the quote of the day.
    all the other ads are also in text. which takes virtually no time to load

    cmon guys were talking about FREE web-based email here, if you want all those features that everyone starts mentioning then go with an email client. webmail users like someone mentioned are mobile, dont have alot of time learn all the key or click combinations to activate a feature, as far as they are concernced there is only 1 mouse button. Gmail gives them the messages as soon as they click on login, they click the message delete or reply to it as quickly as possible, gmail helps people like these do it in the most effective way. I'm not saying Yahoo does not, Gmail just does it better,

    Sometimes, all the bling bling features just make it harder to wade thru what one really needs to do. Google has this in mind and has applied it wonderfully with gmail, and for those who don't care for free web based email, and choose an email client, Gmail offers pop support AGAIN FOR FREE. and that is totally ad free.

  56. CM says:

    A. Use Firefox
    B. Use Adblock
    C. Get Greasemonkey
    https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/748/
    D. Install theses scripts
    http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/5257
    http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/2312

    Stop whining!

  57. srikrishnak says:

    Certainly agree that the new Yahoo beta sucks. It's ad infested design is really irritating.

    I thinkGmail, & Live are much better than Yahoo now.

  58. Drew says:

    One correction. There is a search feature in the current yahoo email. It is clearly visible on your original screen shot. it does a fine job of finding old emails. The same feature is available for Notes, Addresses, Calendar etc. Google is getting there, but I think the current Yahoo suite has better internal and external integration, for example the two-way Intellisyunc with Outlook.

  59. Lucas says:

    While certainly not as impressive as erik or Vinit:

    You are currently using 310 MB (11%) of your 2771 MB.

  60. John says:

    Strangely enough, i'm getting tired of Gmail. I doubted i'd ever say that, but it just plain doesn't work now. Yahoo sucks more. I don't know why, and even though it works, I'm just sick of it. I used the beta for maybe 2 days before I got tired of the layout and everything.

  61. Marcus says:

    The yahoo beta mail is crap. It's bloated and covered in ads that i can't figure out how to remove with adblock (it wipes the original yahoo mail ads right off the screen though). The web 2.0 features could have been nice if they just added them to the original yahoo mail, it's quite tedious when the whole page has to reload everytime you click on something. But the advanced javascripts that controls the width and height of virtually every element aswell as the drag&drop-handlers makes the page and all its functions act really sluggish. Nah, i'll just stick to the original yahoo mail until someone sends me an gmail invite. *hint*

  62. AdemoS says:

    Wow, the amount of off topic ignorance in this comment section is staggering.

    1.) Paying for Yahoo Mail has NOTHING TO DO with using the free version. Gmail offers more space than Yahoo Mail Plus and you have to PAY FOR THE PLUS. Yes really, I have the Plus version because I use AT&T Yahoo DSL, so I see the insanity all the time.

    Gmail - "You are currently using 694 MB (25%) of your 2773 MB."
    Yahoo Mail Plus - "0% of 2.0GB"

    Want proof? http://billing.mail.yahoo.com/bm/Upgrades - "Virtually unlimited space" indeed

    2.) Having to learn forty shortcuts just to disable all the dumb-crap-ideas is just a waste of time. Most people just want to check their e-mail, not customize their webmail client like a hotrod.

    3.) Having to install FIVE THINGS (Firefox, two extensions, two scripts for them) just to use a mail service easily is enough to make me NOT USE that mail service. Gmail works on EVERY browser I can throw at it, and guess what? I don't NEED to disable SHIT. The text ads are barely noticeable and ONLY there when reading a message, unlike Yahoo's.

    4.) Who's dumb-ass idea was it to have a "HOMEPAGE" for your e-mail? I check my e-mail to see the MESSAGES I WAS SENT not to see the current news and who's sponsoring Yahoo today.

    5.) TAABBSSSS!!!!!! Amazing, but why do you think no one else is using them on their webmail? Maybe because EVERY CURRENT BROWSER ALREADY UTTILIZES THEM? Why do you need ANOTHER set of a tabs, just for e-mail? If I want to see more than one message at once, I can open gmail.com in another browser tab, and get to the desired message in almost less time then Yahoo Mail Beta loads ONE tab with e-mail in it.

    6.) A loading screen animation? So not only is the load time seemingly longer than Gmail, but they have some jackass cartoon-man on a bouncing ball? Sure it's cute the first time, but why am I loading animated GIFs when I wanted to view my messages? They need to spend less time on cute gags and more time on SPEED and USABILLITY.

    ** I sent Yahoo some "feedback" of my own, I think everyone here should do the same:
    http://communications.yahoo.com/newmail_survey

  63. Jim says:

    See PATNOX.COM ...I't seems obvious.. we all have our own taste. What Yahoo Mail does to the In-Reply-To header appears to be random. Whatever it is, it’s random and broken. Yahoo has been screwing around with a new home page. They used to have the news and important stuff on the right where the eye naturally goes, and the crap and ads on the left. Now they reversed everything. The important stuff is on the left. Screw you, Yahoo.

  64. Sierra Smith says:

    I recently switched to yahoo mail beta and i would like to switch back to my old yahoo mail page.

  65. Cheryl says:

    I'm looking to see if anyone has had this problem I am experiencing on Yahoo Verizon Beta. All of a sudden, the other day, my header and footer became corrupted. The header is covered by a purple strip and looks completely different. Missing icons and "Check Mail" and "Compose." Also the footer is in a straight Courier font with just the date and time in black and white not listing any events. But when I hover over the footer, it brings up my location and weather right over the text in my inbox. The strangest part is this - If I log off my name and onto the other account on the same computer, it's fine when I log in. No problems at all. I can't figure it out and I HATE the Yahoo Verizon NON-beta. Please help if you can!! Appreciate any and all ideas. If necessary, email me at cmmclaughlin@verizon.net with any answers.

  66. [...] already reviewed once how they are destroying Yahoo! Mail, which is actually one of their very best services, in favor of [...]

  67. [...] recent launch of it’s mail beta is mainly to catch up with GMail. Rather than writing a comparison between these two which eventually will end up comparing  apples and oranges, I [...]

  68. A H says:

    Yahoo has and always will blow hard cock. Gmail is faster, cleaner, easier, and HAS SPAM FILTERS THAT ACTUALLY WORK WORTH A SHIT! Seriously, Yahoo flags 2/3 Amazon messages in the inbox while puts the third in spam. What the fuck algorithm douche bag engineer wrote that up?

  69. A H says:

    Oh and don't forget some of us still use dial-up and flash ads are bitches to load. AND YAHOO EASILY HAS 6 OF THE SAME AD ON A SINGLE PAGE.