Yahoo! Gets a Facelift

Striving to knock Google off its ever growing pedestal, Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) celebrated its 16th birthday with a shiny makeover courtesy of Chief Executive Officer, Marissa Mayer. Yahoo users can now dress up their inboxes with background colors and Flickr images, view messages grouped by threads (coined “conversations”), and keep all those emails handy with 1 TB of storage. The new features were all part of Yahoo’s ‘Mail Plus’ premium service, but now… they’re free to all users. The ads are still there, but folks dreaming of an ad-free interface can plunk down $49.99 to make it reality.

According to David McDowell, Senior Vice President of Product on Mail, syncing across devices should now be a breeze and thanks to a collapsible sidebar, message content claims prime real estate. We haven’t seen anything in the news about improved spam filtering or what sort of impact, if any, the new features and designs will have on marketing emails…

Is all this much ado about nothing? Yahoo subscribers aren’t known for being early adopters, and according to Barry Fischer, head writer and researcher at Opower, they “tend to live in the suburbs, are in long-term relationships and have a family.” In other words, not exactly the 18-34 year old demographic Mayer is chasing.

Only time will tell how this plays out and whether or not Mayer and her team can lure the tech-savvy younger generation, win-back those who left for cooler pastures, or lose her base because the changes were too much to manage.

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