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Coming soon: Yahoo Mail API, turns it into a platform

What took them so long? Yahoo has finally figured out that the way to beat Google and others is through leveraging its two core and most important assets: My.Yahoo! and Yahoo! Mail. These are two services that make Yahoo universally recognizable and make it a daily part of millions of lives.

Yahoo! Mail in particular acts a technological bond between the Sunnyvale-based company and hundreds of millions of its customers. Google can only dream of that direct relationship. By announcing unlimited storage for Yahoo! Mail, they have made the service more valuable, giving their web mail users a reason to stay inside the Yahoo mailbox longer. They have started to add new features – a feed reader, for instance – into their application.

What it shows is that the company is beginning to think of Yahoo Mail as a platform, leveraging cheap storage and a mega audience.

I think the other shoe is going to drop tomorrow when Yahoo in all likelihood is going to announce a Yahoo Mail API, which would open up the service to third party developers. (Here is the screencast!)

Chad Dickerson from Yahoo Developers’ Network semi-announced this today at the ETech conference, though he did not specify a day when it is going to be released, though our sources are pointing to tomorrow. What could this API do? We will have to wait and find out the details, but a good start would be an offline client, saving us from those screen-hogging ads that Yahoo serves up.

Since I am caffeine-deprived today, let me ask you, what would you do with a Yahoo Mail API?

30 Responses to “Coming soon: Yahoo Mail API, turns it into a platform”

  1. genericITguy

    I meant to say the Yahoo Mail web interface is similar in form and function to the Outlook desktop client – a plus for those of us that use Outlook all the time. I also like the calendar info at the bottom of the reading pane – it’s unobtrusive, yet useful. They’re competing with Google, not just copying. One could argue that Google copies also, but what’s the point…

  2. genericITguy

    I use tools that simplify my digital life. An open Yahoo Mail API is sure to encourage development that will ultimately simplify my life. I consider this good news!
    To the naysayers out there…
    Yahoo Mail is similar to Outlook and that alone makes it relevant. I use Yahoo (paid version) for work and Gmail for personal. I’ve actually had better overall experience with Yahoo mail, but tend to prefer Google’s applications due to their generally clean interface, innovative approach, and their uncanny ability to understand what I want. It’s a shame to shoot down a company based on outdated experience or misinformation, regardless of your personal preference.

  3. Alaskan Carnivore

    I have not logged into my Yahoo account for months.. Just tried logging in to Beta from and it had gave me a login error.. grrr…

    Google Apps for your domain has quietly released the ‘Mail Fetcher’ feature that Gmail has had for a few months.
    Details here. and
    Related blog post here

    So, if anyone is stuck on Yahoo and wishes to bail I suggest they enable POP download on Y, fetch it into Gmail and or Google Apps and get over with..

    Personally, I would not be excited about anything Yahoo does.. They simply react to Google.. Google Apps premium has 10g storage btw. And I am sure they’ll ramp that number up in the not too distant future..

    Perhaps after MS buys Yahoo..?

  4. what would you do with a Yahoo Mail API?

    Nothing. Yahoo is no longer a relevant company and the blame for their demise rests squarely on the Terry Semel who should have remained employed in the old media world.

  5. for instance:

    Upload Attachment
    UploadAttachment uploads an email attachment. Must be a POST request.
    Available for premium accounts only.

    so if I want to post binary data to my inbox?????? you mean I need to pay, I thought you were offering a bottomless inbox,,,wait, it’s just saltine crackers,,,right, only saltine crackers.but as many as you want, right?

  6. The fundamental problem is email sucks…

    i.m. is “at best” faster and easier, yet more annoying and inflexible…

    p2p is ok, if you are online and can handle the bandwidth…

    I am not sure that all you can eat saltine crackers is what people want…

    This is the same pig, with a different shade of lipstick. Where is the next generation of email that will kill spam, provide unlimited
    binary streaming, is secure (with built in per message randomness)…

    I just don’t see it here….

    Yahoo just backed up the truck and dumped a load of saltine crackers…

  7. Om, are you at ETech? If so, shoot me an email. I’d be more than happy to dive into the web service with you and show you some of what has already been built.

    Ryan Kennedy (rckenned AT
    Yahoo! Mail Web Service Engineer

  8. If Yahoo wants to be serious about this email platform to succeed. Here is some advice for Yahoo!(tm)


    I’ve had yahoo email reach me MONTHS after it was sent, it’s not a odd occurance btw. Their hosting “PAYING” clients have left because their email system caters more to SPAMMERS.

  9. Yahoo mail is a bunch of Spam and more Spam. I’ve been receiving mails in Russian language from day one when I haven’t ever visited even one Russian site ever.

    Also I fail to see the slickness of their new Mail UI. The left hand side bar is too big and restricts the area where we can actually view mail.

    I hate scrolling the mails horizontally but dont mind scrolling them vertically. With yahoo I almost always end up reading the mails horizontally.

    One more thing, I once used to have 5 Yahoo accounts. I use them no more. I am sure they are still kept active by the system. I am also sure there are number of people with Yahoo accounts which they never use. A count of such accounts will be helpful to determine whether Yahoo is still leader as compared to Hotmail.

    Best Webmail product is no doubt Gmail and I give Kudos to the Gmail team. They’ve done some serious work !

  10. Sundarlal Chuddha

    With all the development going on inside email, it is amazing to me that both Google and Yehoo seem to be content on imposing 1995 standard contact managers on the email services.

  11. Dexter Mobley

    Yahoo mail stinks. No spam protection at all. I dont even use the (mail portion of the)account and its full of spam – in my inbox. The only reason i keep it is for yahoo groups, and i’ve had an account for over a decade. You would think i’d get some benifits with an account that old.

    Yahoo has to fix the spam before anybody takes them seriously, and reduce the junk in their offerings like messenger.

  12. A client that runs on portable USB drives (such as PortableApps or U3 apps) would be very useful to me. I already use Thunderbird, but I still need to fire a browser to check my Yahoo! email.

  13. Yahoo! introduced its Yahoo! Mail API at Yahoo! Hack Day last September. The service was launched on one group of servers (a “forest” by their terminology) and gradually expanding to cover Yahoo!’s 450 million webmail users.

    Yahoo! could announce full availability of the API across all possible server groups, or at least within one locality such as the United States.

  14. Jason McMinn

    Several things Yahoo Mail needs:

    • IMAP as a premium service
    • folders within folder support
    • tagging
    • ability to change the subject line of e-mails you have received
  15. Rutul Dave

    Cheap Storage – One word: Better GSpace

    If the API is useful, I wouldn’t mind spending time developing a client that would let me do backups and store all the data in the Yahoo! mail servers. A 300GB hard disk (external) costs about $100-$150.
    I don’t like GSpace because even though the idea is right, the interface is crappy. Also, I haven’t tried testing it, but the limit is probably 2GB.

  16. Matt Liotta

    If I had the time, I would make some sort of lite desktop client that kept a local copy of email for offline use, but synchronized with the Yahoo Mail service. This would allow me to have multiple computers with the same email, settings, etc and a web client as well. Ideally, this client would also make use of port 80 to send email via the Yahoo Mail service, so I wouldn’t have to worry as much about public access networks’ spam policies.