Yahoo Mail Feels The Need For Speed

    December 15, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The Yahoo Mail beta offers sophisticated desktop client-like email features, but in terms of speed has demonstrated a dismayingly slow loading pace. It’s an issue that Yahoo has been working to fix.

Ryan Kennedy had been blogging changelogs to the Yahoo Mail Beta on his personal blog. That effort earned him notice from other Yahoos, leading to Kennedy putting on the shiny white suit, slicking back his hair, and accepting an evangelism role for the product with a broad ‘trust me’ smile.

(Ok, he did accept the evangelism role, but I really don’t know about the wardrobe. I’m counting on you, friend reader, to send me Flickr links of Ryan in said garb if they exist.)

His latest post to Yahoo’s Mail Updates Blog detailed a variety of changes, with the most notable one addressing the speed with which the Mail Beta loaded in the browser.

For the oldies out there, consider the possibility of a ZX80 computing Pi to its final value. Scary, isn’t it? But as Kennedy noted, it’s been on the Mail Beta team’s task list:

We hear complaints about the speed of the beta from time to time. Fortunately we have some superstar developers dedicated to optimization. In this latest release, there have been some good performance gains. You should notice the preview pane (the message reading area below the message list) loads faster. We also did some work to make tab switching a bit more speedy. We even did a bit of work on the compose message tab. In addition, message sending should be much faster, particularly if you’re sending to a large number of recipients.

Lastly, we had a look under the hood and took care of a nasty issue where your computer would sometimes hang for a bit while you were in the middle of composing that letter to the Y-Mail Yahoo! Group.

There is a lot more to Yahoo Mail Beta than speed, but performance is what people notice first. As the crackerjack coders in Sunnyvale slay this particular dragon, the other tweaks and updates Kennedy reported will be far easier to appreciate:

The top of the welcome page now displays your local weather. Even better, the location is taken directly from your Yahoo! location preference.

The calendar strip in Yahoo! Mail Beta now allows you to set reminders when adding and editing calendar events.

We’ve added support for five new languages in this release: Mexican Spanish, Spanish for the US, Argentinean Spanish, Indonesian and Malay.

Kennedy said they have been working to squash a variety of bugs that cropped up in the previous Mail Beta release. They’ve also been working hard to integrate IM with Yahoo Mail Beta, a combination he called “awesome.”

Improving the speed was the real trick, and as this gets better so will appreciation of Yahoo Mail Beta. There’s just one thing I have to ask, though; did Ryan really mean to display his internal email address in the blog post?


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.