Even with Facebook, e-mail is still relevant: Yahoo exec

Posted at 11/16/10 12:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines - More and more people are using social networks to chat, send messages, and share multimedia content with their friends.

And as Facebook, the world's largest social networking site with over 500 million users, unveiled its all-in-one messaging tool on Monday (Tuesday in Manila), is the writing on the wall for e-mail?

Not for Isaac Souweine, product marketing manager of Yahoo! Southeast Asia, who sees a "really bright future" for the decades-old technology. For him, it's all about combining the old with the new.

"We want to make Yahoo! a facilitator, an aggregator of social content. We won't build our own social network, since people already have their own social networks," Souweine said during the Philippine launch of the beta versions of Yahoo! Mail and Messenger.

He added, "E-mail is still relevant to our users today. It still sits at the center of people's lives online."

Designed from the ground up, the new Yahoo! Mail allows users to view and share updates from Facebook and Twitter, on top of its basic e-mail features. The company called its newest product a "central destination for social experiences from across the web."

It also has enhanced instant messaging and SMS capabilities and automatic slideshow features so users can see multimedia content from Flickr, Picasa, YouTube and other websites right within their e-mail messages.

"This is not a facelift or an Internet tweak. We did ground up work on Yahoo! Mail. It's an entirely new version," Souweine said.

Currently, Yahoo! offers 3 versions of e-mail -- Yahoo! Mail Classic, Yahoo! Mail and the newest addition, Yahoo! Mail Beta.

Souweine hopes that the company can incorporate all these in a single platform by the first quarter of 2011.

Staying connected

The new Yahoo! Messenger, meanwhile, allows users to share their messenger status across social networks such as Facebook, Pulse, Flickr and soon, Twitter.

They can also play social games, view, comment on, and like real-time updates, as well as chat with Facebook friends via YM.

"You can chat with your Facebook friends on Yahoo! Messenger (and they won't even notice the difference). We want to integrate the social networking experience within Yahoo! Messenger," said Karen Yeo, product marketing manager of Yahoo! Southeast Asia.

She continued, "Now, Yahoo! is a lot more social and a lot more mobile."

Following the announcement of Yahoo! Messenger for the iPhone, the company is also rolling out the application for Google's Android platform.

Here, users can make free video calls across a Wi-Fi network to anyone on their messenger list, Yahoo! said.

Several people have dubbed Facebook's latest offering as the "e-mail killer [add link]," but with all these new features on the old service, it may certainly be here to stay.

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