May 10 2006

Getting Into The Yahoo Mail Beta

Since this is Yahoo month (which is going quite nicely, btw) I decided I really wanted to get into the Yahoo Mail Beta and check it out, especially for the new RSS stuff that I’ve heard about (and seen over other people’s shoulders, but never used for more than a few minutes.)

I’ve been “applying” for the Yahoo Mail Beta program for three months (at least ever few weeks – whenever I think of it) and all I get back is a deafening silence.  I considered emailing a few friends at Yahoo; however, earlier today, Chris Wand sent me a cheat via HiveLive via the Google Operating System blog that tells you how to fool Yahoo to letting you immediately into the program.

The instructions follow:

  • log in to Yahoo Mail
  • click Options
  • select Account information from the left panel
  • select “Edit” Member Information
  • go to General Preferences -> Preferred Content
  • select Yahoo United Kingdom
  • click Finished
  • go to Yahoo Mail
  • you’ll see a page that says “It’s the New Yahoo! Mail Beta… and you’re invited.”
  • click on “Try Beta Now”.

Voila. 

After 10 minutes of playing around with it, I’m reminded of Oddpost.  The email is nice and snappy (although not as nice as Microsoft OWA.) I’m completely underwhelmed by the RSS stuff – while it’s nice that it’s incorporated into the email system and the online rendering is fine, it has virtually no functionality other than subscribe and view.  All the RSS feeds end up alphabetically in one folder, so if you have more than a dozen or so feeds it quickly becomes burdensome to deal with.  None of the normal things you’d expect, like OPML import/export are immediately obvious.  And – well – no advanced features of any sort.

However, it’s a huge improvement over the current version of Yahoo Mail – hopefully they’ll roll it out to the masses soon.  If not, you can always pretend you are from the UK.