It’s official folks. In an announcement made by John Kremer, Vice President of Yahoo! Mail, we were told that Yahoo! Mail Beta will be coming out of its beta phase within the next six weeks. The release will be done in Yahoo! Mail server farms around the world in phases, so in about two months time the final version will be out. It’s good you know, beta is only supposed to be for testing for a short period of time. Unlike Gmail, which even years down the line is still in beta! :p That way, Google sneakily can save getting a final rating from the likes of PC World and CNET, because most tech reviews don’t give a final rating to beta stuff. And guess what, because it’s beta if anything goes wrong they can simply claim ‘you knew the risks dude, it’s your fault’. Tech columnist Stephen Manes once blasted this whole beta shit very convincingly – of the new trend of companies having perpetual beta phases, making the the customer use unstable releases and then washing their hands off if anything goes wrong.
Coming back to my main point, Yahoo! Mail’s final release version will also have another feature – SMS text messaging. According to their press release, users will be able to ‘send and receive free text messages in their email to and from any mobile phone number in participating markets including the US, Canada, India and the Philippines’. Good news eh? Personally, I think this is much better than Google India’s ‘gift’ of Indic transliteration. You can even see a screenshot of the final interface at the top.
So how will you get to know when you have the final version? Simple, it will no longer show the ‘Beta’ logo. For me, with such a crappy version of T9 on my LG KG300 Dynamite (boy, I need to write a review for that too, don’t I?), this service via Yahoo! Mail will definitely be a boon. And best of all, since it’s free, I think it will be huge hit. Similar services in India exist, like Indiatimes’ Chikka, but that requires a download, and it’s Windows-specific. Yahoo! Mail’s features, since they’re browser based will be cross platform and WON’T require a download.
Unlimited storage. Integrated messaging with Yahoo! and Windows Live accounts. Free SMS text messaging. What other goodies can possibly be in store for us!