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June 3, 2013

Yahoo Now Has Right to Read Users E-Mails A La Google

Company Pulls Plug On ‘Classic’ E-Mail Design

Yahoo has officially retired the ‘classic’ version of its e-mail service, forcing all existing clients to use its new design — a design that goes hand-in-hand with less privacy.

As of today, Yahoo now has the right to read the e-mails of all of those who choose to upgrade to the new version of its e-mail service.

CEO Marissa Mayer debuted the redesign of Yahoo Mail last year but, until now, the company has allowed users to continue using the old version.

“Beginning the week of June 3, 2013, older versions of Yahoo Mail (including Yahoo Mail Classic) will no longer be available,” the company said in a Yahoo Help post. “After that, you can access your Yahoo Mail only if you upgrade to the new version. You should have received an e-mail from Yahoo letting you know that your account required an upgrade.”

Along with the more modern look, Yahoo has updated its terms of service, allowing the technology firm to “scan and analyze all incoming and outgoing communications content sent and received from your account (such as Mail and Messenger content including instant messages and SMS messages) including those stored in your account to, without limitation, provide personally relevant product features and content, to match and serve targeted advertising and for spam and malware detection and abuse protection.”

Yahoo Mail app

Yahoo added that it collects and stores data during the “scanning and analyzing” of users communications.

Although there is no way to opt-out of having all incoming and outgoing messages scanned, users can opt-out of interest-based and contextual-based advertising. To opt-out, users can simply go to Ad Interest Manager to change their settings.

Yahoo’s new policies, essentially, follow those Google uses with Gmail —Google scans incoming and outgoing messages to offer targeted advertising as well as spam protection.

Microsoft’s also scans the contents of users’ e-mail to help prevent spam, malware and other abuses, but does not use “the content of customers’ e-mails, communications, or documents to target advertising,” according to the company’s ‘Scroogled’ website.

It will be interesting to see if Microsoft opts to add Yahoo to its Scroogled website. The Scroogled campaign is a bid to skewer arch-rival Google and convince Google users to switch to Bing and Outlook. Yahoo may escape being ‘Scroogled’ because it is allowing users to opt out of targeted advertising.

Yahoo launched the speedier, simpler version of Yahoo Mail in answer to user requests for improvements, Mayer said in a Dec. 11 blog post:

E-mail is the ultimate daily habit. It’s often the first thing we check in the morning and the last thing before going to bed. Why? Because it’s one of the simplest and most basic forms of communication. And since it’s such an important part of our daily lives, we’re making a few improvements to Yahoo Mail.

You’ve told us loud and clear that you want fewer distractions when it comes to e-mail. You want to quickly login, communicate, and get on with your day. And we’ve listened. Starting today, the new Yahoo Mail is fast, easy and available anywhere you go. These improvements will be available on all major platforms: Web, Windows 8, iPhone/iPod touch and Android.

We’ve redesigned the new version of Yahoo Mail with speed in mind — getting through your e-mails is faster than ever before. We’ve also made your inbox more intuitive and easier to navigate, allowing you to focus on what matters most: your messages. And, because mobile is everything these days, Yahoo Mail now has a consistent look and feel across devices.

Yahoo Mail remains the No. 1 webmail service in the U.S., although Gmail has taken that title worldwide.

According to comScore, as of November 2012, 40.8 percent of online Americans were using Yahoo Mail, compared to Gmail at 36.7 percent.