Yahoo adds apps to Mail, upgrades Messenger

Yahoo’s kitchen sink approach to its mail and messaging services were on display as the company unveiled updates to both.

The updated Mail site rolls out today in the U.S., and over the next few weeks worldwide. Users of Yahoo Messenger can download version 10 today.

The biggest change to Yahoo Mail is the addition of applications, which replace advertisements in the bottom left corner of the screen. The recently-acquired Xoopit has been fully integrated into this line-up, and is now dubbed “MyPhotos” (but bearing the same blue and orange color scheme as the old Xoopit logo). Using this app, it’s possible to share and view photos and video attached to e-mail.

Another application, which should come to Yahoo Mail in a few weeks, is Evite. Just like the party invitation Web site, users can create and send out invitations to events, but directly through the mail service. After the event is created, users can click on a link to add it to Yahoo Calendar. There’s also a Paypal application for sending cash.

Other updates to Yahoo Mail include an increase in maximum file attachment size, from 10 MB to 25 MB, and a redesigned Web mail site for mobile phones, launching today on the iPhone.

The major change to Yahoo Messenger is the addition of video chat, which works exactly as you’d expect. Messenger’s “Insider” pop-up window also looks new, with a weather widget that includes a five-day forecast when you click on it and local news results based on the location you enter. You can also access mail through the Insider pop-up, although that seems a bit redundant.

yahoomessenger

Both services try their best to integrate social networking. The Mail Web site has a section for watching friends’ updates, and Messenger lets you to scroll through your buddy list and read their current activity on Twitter, Yahoo Buzz and Flickr.

I like these additions in theory, but I wonder if there’s just a little bit too much going on. Then again, Yahoo’s always been about throwing as much as possible at the user, so at least it’s not a major departure from the company’s old ways. I’d have to try out these new features on a daily basis to know whether they’re really worth the extra clutter.


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