Yahoo is working on a major redesign and functionality upgrade to its popular email service in an attempt to reverse a recent user decline as the company tries to fight off offerings from Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Twitter and others.
The planned changes to Yahoo Mail, codenamed “Minty,” have multiple goals including increasing the speed of the service in countries with low bandwidth sites as well as trying to simplify the design. The timeline for these changes is to go into affect is not long term, the updates are expected to roll out this fall.
Yahoo Mail is still the #1 Web-based email service in the U.S. by far, with more unique visitors most months than Gmail and Hotmail combined, but Yahoo Mail has been seeing a steady decline in visitors over the past year. Worldwide neither Gmail or Yahoo is anywhere near Microsoft’s Hotmail though. Yahoo Mail is also competing with social networking services like Facebook and Twitter which provides person to person communication that is often times easier and faster than traditional email.
Is it too late for Yahoo Mail to stem the tide? I don’t think so, but they must act fast and decisively to make major improvements to their email service. Of all the web-based email services I can think of, Yahoo Mail is perhaps the most heavy to me and that is something that they definitely need to address. They need to make Yahoo Mail a functional, cohesive, lightweight application and get rid of all that extra crap that they like to add (cut back on the aggressive ads would be one, it only annoys people).
If you are a former Yahoo Mail user who has switched, would these changes that Yahoo is making cause you to reconsider and possibly return to Yahoo Mail as your primary email? What do you think they need to change?