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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Yahoo Offers Free Texting Service For Pinoy Users

INTERNET giant Yahoo Inc. will introduce new features today for its free Web-based e-mail service, including the ability to send text messages directly to cell phones.

The service, which will take up to six weeks to roll out, will initially be available in the Philippines, the United States, Canada and India, the company said.

“We’re giving you the right way to connect at the right time with right person,” said Yahoo vice president John Kremer, whose two preteen sons vastly prefer text and instant messages to e-mail.

Yahoo doesn’t charge for sending and receiving text messages, but mobile phone users may be charged fees by carriers that provide their services.

Yahoo’s PC-to-text service seems to compete directly with the services provided by Philippines-based, but it was not immediately clear what impact it would have on the local company.

The changes to Yahoo Mail come amid fierce competition among providers of free, Web-based e-mail services. Yahoo and Microsoft Corp.’s Hotmail have long dominated the niche, but Google Inc.’s Gmail has grown quickly since its introduction in April 2004.

In February, Yahoo announced that it would provide unlimited storage space, and earlier this month Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said Hotmail would increase free storage from two to five gigabytes. Time Warner Inc.’s AOL, the fourth largest e-mail provider, began offering unlimited storage last summer. Google provides nearly three gigabytes.

Sunnyvale-based Yahoo bills the changes as the most significant overhaul of Yahoo Mail since its launch in 1997. The new version replaces a one-year-old beta program and adds new features, including text messaging, a more comprehensive e-mail search engine and an easier to read and edit contacts database.

Yahoo is making its upgraded service available to the 254 million users of its e-mail service as it competes with rivals Google and Microsoft for “eye balls” that can be parlayed into advertising revenues.

Improvements include making the service faster and enabling users to have instant message conversations with people using Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger service.

The new version allows users to click on a contact and then select whether to send that person an e-mail, instant message or text message. You could send an e-mail or instant message if you know the recipient is at the computer—or a text message if the recipient is on the road with a cell phone.

“This gives people the ability to reach anybody in their contact database anytime,” said Michael McGuire, vice president of research at industry analysis firm Gartner Inc. “For good or evil, it’s going to be much easier for anybody to get a hold of you.”

Users who do not want the upgrades—or whose computers are too slow to handle them—can opt to remain with the current version, which Yahoo will call “Classic.”

“Consumer inertia is a powerful force,” McGuire said. “You are not going to get everybody wanting to learn the new one.”

McGuire said the enhancements add value to Yahoo’s e-mail.

“These are all important features they have to keep adding to the platform in the face of Hotmail, Gmail, or whatever,” McGuire said.

“But this is more than keeping up with competitors. They have added value.” AP and AFP

Source: Manila Standard Today

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1 Comment(s):

Anonymous said...

I love how the article is directed to the pinoy users. it only makes sense, the pinoy user text is huge back in the philippines. wheni was in manilla i noticed that everyone had peekamo accounts which enabled them to txt for free all day.

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