How Yahoo Mail is reinventing itself in India

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on November 12, 2019

Email service looks to add new users by adding new features and providing 1 terabyte (1,000 GB) of storage

Verizon Media-owned email service Yahoo Mail is looking to add new users even as it eyes holding on to its current user base through new features and rebranding of the mobile application. The move to re-work its mobile application based e-mail service comes at a time when competitors such as Google’s ‘Gmail’ and Microsoft’s ‘Outlook’ have re-branded their applications multiple times, adding new features and services. Incidentally, market sources say Yahoo Mail was steadily losing users to competition, who preferred using other services over this tech major.

‘Yahoo Mail’ has 227.6 million monthly users globally. This includes users who access the email services across devices, including mobile phones, tablet PCs, computers — PCs and laptops — and so on.

Of the total users, 75 million people access emails exclusively through their handheld devices (mobiles and tablets), every month.

According to Shiv Shankar, Director of Product Management, Yahoo Mail, Verizon Media, ‘Yahoo Mail’ has 60 per cent of its users outside the US. The new mobile application features are targeted at “increasing the retention”.

“Apart from increasing the retention (users), we are looking to provide value and empower the user,” Shankar told BusinessLine, adding that “in India we provide support in seven Indian languages as well, including Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Marathi”.

New Features

Some of the new features include “people view” (contact-centric view of inbox without mass mailers or spam); users can view their tabs based on three categories — people, travel and receipts; customisation; drag and drop interface with fun animations; attachment options; subscribe and unsubscribe; filters (search using criteria such as file name, file type, etc), among others.

This apart, a major USP for Yahoo Mail will be the 1 terabyte (TB) (or 1,000 gigabytes — GB) of free storage, the equivalent of 250-300 movies, that it is now offering.

In comparison, the competition — for instance, Gmail — offers around 15 GB of storage. If one uses up the existing 15GB space, s/he has to either delete some mail to make space or buy additional space paying a monthly subscription.

Like other competing e-mail service providers, multiple e-mail accounts can now be synced into the Yahoo Mail app.

“The new re-designed mobile app will also have a modern focus on one-handed use with taller phones and there will be faster access to attached files,” Shankar said.

Mobile focus

According to Shiv Shankar, the Verizon Media-owned company will be looking to extend some of the new features to its mobile-web email services.

While advertisement revenues on email continue to be the prime driver for Yahoo Mail’s free service; a subscription-based offering (Yahoo Mail Pro), which will be advertisement free, has already been introduced. The Pro service, which was introduced some 6-7 years back, was also rebranded recently.

However, Shankar adds that talks are on to pre-install the new Yahoo Mail application on mobile phones.

Verizon Media is the digital media/technology arm of US-based Verizon and its presence in India is through brands such as ‘Yahoo’, ‘Yahoo Mail’, ‘MAKERS’, ‘AOL ’, ‘Yahoo Cricket’ and ‘HuffPost’.

Yahoo Mail, he says, will, however, continue to focus on the “consumer category” and not enter the enterprise e-mail segment

Published on November 12, 2019

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