Friday, September 29, 2006


Advanced Web Mail (or just not dumb)

It has been impressive watching Yahoo Mail 2.0 evolve. They've taken their time, and haven't rushed. It's a pure guess, but as Yahoo have been around longer in this domain than Google I suspect the percentage of non-tech savy people using Yahoo is going to be higher.

Google Mail is savy and swish, but if you aren't using the web every day (a LOT of people don't) it isn't the simplest of UI's to learn.

I'm not saying it is any better or worse than Yahoo's, just that it is different to virtually everything else. While Google may be offering improvements they may also be harder to grasp for those that haven't grown up with a web-browser integrated into their daily life.

Thus, Yahoo taking their time and polishing their offering are quite crucial to it being a success with the masses, as well as those of us who are drinking the web-juice each day, all day. And so props to Yahoo for being grown up and professional about their upgrade.

However ... a minor niggle.

I have a few Yahoo and Google Mail accounts. Possibly I shouldn't, possibly I could live with one. But let me put it this way: I am able to register multiple accounts for multiple uses if I so desire, and I do desire.

To switch from one Yahoo Mail account to another I have to:

* Logout
* Logout again (honestly, I really did want to logout)
* Follow a link to "Return to Yahoo Mail"
* Login

It ought to be possible to:

* Logout
* Login

Don't put it up by default - have it as an option. It's a small percentage of users - but advanced users, who are using your service a lot. They are worth a little effort.

Google Mail at least get's this right.

However, that is still a bit sucky. Why can I not be logged into multiple Yahoo Mail or Google Mail accounts?

Technically there is no reason.

I don't want to have one uber account that aggregates all the others (which is what Google allow you to do), and I don't want to have to constantly be logging in and out.

Make it an advanced feature. Turn it off by default. Hide it from the majority of users. But please stop making life sucky for no apparent reason.

And on a related note: Aggregators (mail, bank accounts, whatever) are great for the companies - they lock you in to their service and I'm sure for some people offer convenience.

But I don't want everything in one place. I just want you to realise that I do have many accounts in many places, and make that easier without at the same time killing one of the reasons I have multi-whatevers in the first place - resilience, redundancy and seperation. These (for some people, in some cases, some of the time) are very very important.

Rant off.


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