Yahoo Inc is redesigning its Yahoo Mail services for better performance and to counter the competition from long term arch rival Microsoft and Gmail. Company is facing tough time due to rise in social networking arena where Facebook and Twitter are slowly transforming user base of Yahoo to themselves. Yahoo’s recent move has been considered as a result of recent revamp by Microsoft and Gmail.

The planned changes to Yahoo Mail, part of a project codenamed “Minty,” are aimed partly at increasing the speed of the service in overseas markets where Internet connections are slower than in countries such as the U.S.

Yahoo is also changing the look of the service to resemble the simpler design of the email app that is downloaded on mobile devices such as Apple Inc.’s iPad or phones that use Google’s Android software. The updates to the email service are expected to roll out this fall.

“We continue to innovate our product experiences, and specific to Yahoo Mail, we have been previewing our next version of email that provides higher performance, sleeker design and great integration” with social-networking services such as Facebook, a Yahoo spokesman said, reported by WSJ.

As per the latest report from internet research form ComScore, Yahoo Mail still stands at No1 position in US for mail services with 97 million unique visitors in August – much ahead than Gmail and Microsoft mail services. However, this shows a down fall in user base compare to August last year when company used to serve 107 million users in U.S.
At the same time, Microsoft still dominates the email service market globally – a large lead over Google and Yahoo with 355 million visitors in July, up 3% at the same time last year, as reported by comScore. Yahoo had 281 million visitors in July, 7% down from a last year. Gmail is rising fast with 185 million visitors in July, up 22%.

Yahoo also going through tough competition in few important market like India where Gmail took the top spot few months ago and in July had 24 million visitors compare to Yahoo’s 21 million visitors according to comscore.
“Yahoo Mail is an incredibly important part of Yahoo,” said David Karnstedt, a former Yahoo executive who is now chief executive of Efficient Frontier, which manages online ad spending for marketers. “Not only does mail drive a ton of user engagement but it accounts for the majority of the available advertising space in Yahoo’s network,” he said as reported by WSJ.
Yahoo Mail also has been threatened by the rise of mobile devices powered by Google’s Android software and often preloaded with Gmail. In the second quarter of 2010, Android grew to become the No. 3 smartphone operating system in the world behind Symbian, which is used by Nokia Corp. Yahoo has a partnership with Nokia to pre-install Yahoo Mail and chat applications on some of its phones.

Another factor is the rapid rise of social-networking sites such as Facebook, which offers its users the ability to send direct messages to friends and family. And Twitter, the microblogging service, also is rising in popularity as people use it to share links and write short messages to other users.

To ensure the users interest and avoid possible disconnected due to Facebook, Yahoo has integrated the Social networking tools with its Email service earlier this year. Besides that project “Minty” also contains the photo sharing service from Yahoo owned Flickr.

It would be interesting for users to see the all new changes and features in Yahoo Mail which shall hopefully over exceed the expectations of people in order to regain its top spot, atleast in dominated market.

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