The newly launched Yahoo Account Key makes mail passwords obsolete, as users can now log into their accounts using push notifications on their phone.
There is a string of other updates for the popular electronic mail service, ranging from an enhanced user interface, to more complex functionality improvements. Overall, the mail client can be used more conveniently and intuitively now, and supports a wider range of users.
It appears that the major overhaul has been undertaken in an effort to mark Yahoo Mail’s 18th birthday, which will be celebrated this month.
One of the most important changes consists in the possibility to login without having the remember the password every single time. According to Yahoo vice president of product Dylan Casey, passwords and security questions are now an outmoded, overly complex feature, which doesn’t even protect users successfully.
In response, Yahoo Account Key has been launched, which enables users to connect their email accounts to their mobile phones, and verify their identity via push notifications.
Upon entering their email address in the login box, users are notified of this action with an alert on their smartphones, and can either allow or block the process.
A predecessor of this functionality, called “on-demand” passwords, was released in March. It asked users to enter their usual password in order to login, then Yahoo assigned them a new short password via text message.
This two-factor authentication has now been simplified, thanks to Yahoo Account Key. It must be noted however that enabling this feature isn’t compulsory, if users don’t own a smartphone or they prefer the traditional password authentication.
Mail contacts have also undergone a makeover, and will provide more detailed background information, thanks to being connected to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. They are now called avatars and offer extra security, by only allowing mails from “authorized senders” and blocking spam and malware.
Also, emails from companies are shown as authentic by displaying their official logo next to the mail. There is also the possibility to determine “top contacts” based on frequency of email exchange, and to receive recommendations related to which new contacts to add.
The app also gives access to third-party mailboxes and archives now, allowing people to import their AOL, Hotmail and Outlook accounts. This way, users can check their email through Yahoo even when it comes to other providers.
Moreover, by using Multiple Mailboxes, email searches can be carried out across all the accounts that an individual may have. While this service must have been highly anticipated by many, unfortunately so far there is no support for Gmail users, but company officials say it will soon follow.
There are also other useful tweaks, such as filters for searching emails, documents and images, and an undo button which can be used after accidentally deleting or moving an email. Another useful feature allows users to send reminders and other information to their own email address, by long-pressing the compose button.
The updates have been launched today for desktop and mobile clients likewise. While desktop users will see the changes immediately upon logging into their accounts, cell phone users will have to download the new Yahoo Mail app, which is now available for Android and iOS devices.
There are also certain optimizations based on operating system: on Android, email exchanges now appear as a conversation, and on iOS, searching for someone in the Contacts list will automatically retrieve emails exchanged with that person.
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