Not long after redesigning its homepage, Yahoo! has announced several enhancements that will be made to Yahoo! Mail. The “smarter inbox” concept is based on the Yahoo! Open Strategy, which means that it will assure social functionality while allowing interaction with services and content from other providers. The changes include a new Welcome Page, enhanced inbox and folder view, and quick access to third-party applications.
At the moment, the social features are available only to the US and Australian users, while only a limited number of US beta testers have access to the open features. Yahoo! estimates that the smarter inbox will go public in the first semester of 2009.
The new Welcome Page will include a preview of the connection-related news, a list of connection suggestions made by Yahoo! and the facility to connect to others by sending or receiving invitations. As Yahoo! mentioned, the update feeds would not cover only the connections and the services provided by this company, but also information from across the Web.
One of the most important innovations brought by the new inbox is represented by the connections. Yahoo!'s universal profile enables the users to connect with others and to define the importance of the messages and of the activity updates, depending on the these connections. Besides this, prioritizing the updates is possible via the new folder and inbox view.
For starters, the Updates section of the smarter inbox will include the connections, Yahoo! Buzz, Yahoo! TV, Music and Travel. The Yahoo! Social Platform and developer APIs will enable the other Web sites to integrate their services into the inbox.
The open applications stand as proof that smarter inbox is currently the greatest Open Strategy project initiated by Yahoo! Family Journal, Flixster, Flickr, WordPress, Xoopit and Yahoo! Greetings are several of the applications that will be run right from the inbox, but there is no doubt that this number will increase once the service goes public.
"Yahoo! Mail users have told us that they want to be more productive when they get to their inbox ,and they want help breaking through the clutter and getting to the communications that matter most to them," John Kremer, VP of Yahoo! Mail, declared. "We've created a smarter inbox experience to address the problem of inbox overload. We're also embedding really useful applications directly into the inbox, which should help people be even more efficient when they get to Yahoo! Mail."
The smarter inbox also represents a good chance for the developers to share their applications with the world. Spreading them will be an easy task, since the developers have Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Messenger and several other services at their disposal.
Regardless of the online communication that is chosen by people, Yahoo! seems willing to incorporate them all in the smarter inbox. Starting from blogs, e-mail and live status messages, and ending with applications that can be launched inside the inbox, the services promise to enhance communication as never before.