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Yahoo! Mail Beta arrives, claims to be at least twice as fast, safer, easier to use

Last month we brought you a sneak peek at the new Yahoo Mail interface -- and as of today anyone can sign up. Other than the usual slew of new features -- a virus scanner, spam protection, sexy mobile clients -- this launch also heralds the launch of a very purple theme... which you can't seem to change...

There's an accompanying Yahoo! Developer Network blog post if you want details of the technical changes behind the new Beta. Most notably, Yahoo deployed a bunch of efficient HTTP proxies around the world that significantly speed up connectivity if you're not based near Yahoo's mail servers in the U.S. They also overhauled the rendering of the website itself, utilizing YUI 3, CSS3, and anything else that could reduce the amount of clunky HTML required -- gone are <table> elements!

All in all, the changes make for a much smoother Yahoo Mail experience. A lot of the cruft has been removed -- so much so that it looks a bit like Gmail, but with a "social" landing page tacked on the front. Let's not forget that Yahoo Mail, at least as of last year, owns the U.S. email market -- it's twice the size of Windows Hotmail and almost three times the size of Gmail. This update will affect, in a good way, how the majority of U.S. Internet users send email!

Tags: beta, update, yahoo, yahoo mail, yahoo mail beta, YahooMail, YahooMailBeta