Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yahoo! makes me a grumpy old emailer

This morning Yahoo! Mail 'upgraded' me to its new Gmail-like email. There was no choice. If I wanted to use my account, I'd have to accept the change.

I was first offered the new-look email a couple of years ago. I tried it then on the promise that I could switch back to what they called Classic email, which I did.

Apart from being resistant to any kind of change, I didn't like having ads where previously there had been none.

Yahoo! tried to soften me up for the inevitable with this email a couple of days ago:

"We appreciate that you have been with Yahoo! Mail for the past 13 years. We are looking forward to bringing you an even faster, safer, easier-to-use Yahoo! Mail very soon."

13 years! Blimey, has it really been that long? Because of course Yahoo! was itself a new-fangled replacement to my original Freeserve email address.

I'm glad to find that my account still includes at least most of my old emails. The earliest in the Inbox is from April 2001 (only 10 years ago): it's from a friend in New York, asking "How are things in England?  All we hear about is mountains of dead cows." Ah, those were the days!

I see that the Sent box goes back to March 1999 (still only 12 years).

I have alway liked email, and if anyone asked me, I'd advise them to try it and whatever else they might want on the internet.

But I still think there's something a bit nauseating about the saintly Martha Lane Fox's admonishment of those who haven't got themselves online yet.

It's "disappointing, depressing and I find shocking," she said today, that almost nine million people in Britain have never been online. These people say they have no use for the internet, and are the targets - willing or not - of her campaign, Race Online 2012 with its "one-on-one tailored personal inspiration" to make people want to use the internet. Perlease! Why shouldn't these people carry on in their own sweet low-tech way if that's what they want?

Come to think of it, I'm not sure whether I'm more turned off by MLF's indignant complaints against innocent non-internet users or by Yahoo!'s slippery sales pitch for its new email, which completely fails to mention that my Inbox will be boxed in by distracting animations of the Samsung tablet and other things I don't want.

Sorry Martha: that I haven't yet realised that I want.

Still, I shouldn't be too grumpy. 13, or even 11, years of free email with no ads isn't bad.

Below: Classic Yahoo! Mail:

And the new version: 

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