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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Web-Based Email -- Yahoo Mail

AIM Mail, Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and even Comcast.net Mail -- some are better for business, some for consumers, and all are quite useful.

For many of us, web-based e-mail services are a useful adjunct to our home inbox, allowing us to check e-mail while traveling and to privately communicate outside of corporate messaging. But a review of the latest web mail services shows that you can now consider foregoing desktop programs without compromising your communications flow.

While Yahoo! Mail is more of a "me too" service than an innovative product, it includes everything you need to successfully manage your messages through a straightforward interface. Business users may prefer Yahoo! Mail's contact management features, but many folks would have a hard to find compelling reasons to switch their e-mail from or to Yahoo! Mail. (continued...)

You can set up custom fields in your Yahoo! Mail contact database as well as establish categories to keep your work and play contacts separate. One unique feature of Yahoo Mail is the free synchronization software that will keep your Palm or Pocket PC handheld up to date with your calendar and address book, and maintain synchronicity with Outlook as well. The Intellisync software can simplify uploading your data to a new computer, and also comes in handy if you need to find an email address when you are away from your computer.

As with AIM Mail and Hotmail, you can share your Yahoo! Mail calendar with peers or publish it as a public page.

The four tabs across the top of the screen for managing messages are used to store and retrieve messages. You can flag messages that urgently need to be dealt with, and use the advanced search function to find important information contained within a message text. The one gigabyte of free storage is likely more than enough for most users.

Yahoo! created its own SpamGuard software to ward off unwanted solicitations, and it seems to work well. Although I've had a Yahoo! Mail account for several years, I very rarely receive spam. Yahoo! offers a Plus service for $19.99 per year that doubles the amount of storage and provides additional anti-spam options.

Source: InformationWeek

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