When internet aficionados David Filo and Jerry Yang first created the world’s first online directory back in 1994 from a trailer, they had no idea that they were creating what would one day become an international mega-corporation, hosting the most visited site on the internet and serving hundreds of millions of people around the world.
While Yahoo! owes its success to many factors, part of their secret is their highly popular free mail service, Yahoo! Mail. Yahoo! Mail is one of the most commonly used-web based e-mail systems in the world (along with competitors such as Microsoft’s Hotmail and Google’s Gmail systems). These e-mail accounts are offered free to anyone with access to an internet connection. By offering this free service, it guaranteed loyal traffic on a regular basis from all of its e-mail clients.
Yahoo! Mail is accessible by anyone, a simple, user-friendly service that allows users to send and receive e-mails from any internet-connected comuter in the world. Messages are stored on an online server, rather than on the user’s computer, allowing them to access their information from anywhere.
Although previously Yahoo! had fairly small amounts of storage space, this has changed in 2005 to include up to 1 gigabyte of e-mail storage. I remember how happy I was the day that the new storage rules went into effect. I like many people have spent plenty of time trying to clear out my inbox just to allow room for new messages to come in. Now with 1 gigabyte of storage space I doubt I will ever come near my limit. Since the switchover I haven’t once thought about cleaning out my inbox and still have only used 5% of my allotted space.
Yahoo! has also introduced PhotoMail, a new system that works in conjunction with the normal e-mail to allow people to send photos over the internet quickly and easily. Photos can be inserted directly into e-mails, without the hassle of attachments, and it also provides a special storage place for photos. I haven’t used this program myself, but from what I have read it is a pretty impressive system, and a welcome addition to the normal Yahoo! Mail.
Beyond Yahoo! Mail
What many Yahoo! users might not realize is just how many more services Yahoo! provides with its free accounts. There is far more than just mail out there available for Yahoo! Users. Yahoo! appreciates its users and is always looking for new ways to provide for them. Readers may remember when in 2004, in celebration of its 10th anniversary Yahoo! bought free ice creams from Baskin Robbins for all of its users. Yahoo! users were pleased, but Baskin Robbins was rushed like never before in its history all across the country.
One of the more commonly used extra features of a Yahoo! account is Yahoo! Instant Messenger, and IM program in the vein of AOL Instant Messenger, among other programs. This was the feature that I first began using outside of my mail, now able to keep in contact with my friends and relatives in a real time conversation, much faster than simple e-mail. But this is still just the tip of the iceberg.
When signed into your Yahoo! Mail account, you will notice that there are a number of features right there, waiting to be used. There is of course the Yahoo! Address Book, where users can store address information for all of their contacts, including regular addresses, phone numbers, names and of course e-mails.
There’s also the Yahoo! Calendar. This excellent program is a fully functional and customizable (you can even add pictures to make it feel more authentic) calendar that offers events listing as well as task lists so that you always know where you are going and what you need to accomplish on any given day. I think I’d probably be a little more organized if I used this feature more often.
Lastly is Yahoo! Notepad, one of the four primary functions within the Yahoo! Mail system. I must admit I love my Yahoo! Notepad. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t jot down some tidbit or another in its pages. Since I don’t like to write things down on paper and use a number of different computers on a daily basis, Yahoo! Notepad allows me to keep whatever thoughts, ideas or web sites I want to keep a hold of written down in a form I can access from anywhere without having to remember a physical notebook or floppy disk.
Along with the actual e-mail program, Yahoo! also offers its Yahoo! Briefcase. This is another of my favorite Yahoo! features. Briefcase is a simple system that offers http uploads onto Yahoo!’s server for documents of all shapes and sizes, with a storage limit of up to 30 Mb. It is a great way to backup documents, and also allows you to send documents to anyone with an e-mail address for easy file transfer.
Some other features of note are Yahoo! Radio, including dozens of radio stations of numerous musical varieties that even allows for personal customization. Yahoo! Anti-Spy is a spyware removal problem, that can also be coupled with Yahoo! Pop-up Blocker to block unwanted pop-ups. Yahoo! TV offers free personalized television listings and Yahoo! Movies lets users know when and where movies are showing and for how much. You can even buy tickets online with Yahoo!
All of these services and features are combined into another of my favorite aspects of being a Yahoo! Member, Yahoo! Toolbar. This handy tool installs directly into your internet browser (I use it with Internet Explorer, but it works with Netscape Navigator as well).
Your Toolbar includes a built in search engine (no more having to go back to Yahoo!’s main site to run searches), and also gives instant access to your favorite Yahoo! features, such as the Pop-up Blocker, Anti-Spy, mail, and instant access to news, financial information and more.
And even with all of this, Yahoo! offers more: games, stock information, message boards, music downloads, just to name a few. If you use Yahoo! Mail, but haven’t tried any of the other myriad things they have to offer, take a look. You won’t be disappointed.