How Yahoo Mail Works

­Yahoo mail is one of the most popular free e-mail services.
© David Paul Morris/Getty Images

A world without the convenience of e-mail is hard to imagine -- which may explain, in part, why millions of us have turned to Yahoo Mail and other free Web-based e-mail services for fast communications. While AOL, Prodigy and CompuServe came earlier, Yahoo Inc. entered the field with Yahoo Mail in 1997 and has become a leader with an estimated 250 million users worldwide [sources: Computerworld and Search Engine Journal].

No matter which e-mail service we use, many of us use it frequently. A March 2007 survey conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project indicated that 71 percent of U.S. adults use the Internet. Among those users, 91 percent send or read e-mail online, and 56 percent use e-mail every day. Looking at e-mails sent worldwide, technology research firm IDC estimated that nearly 97 billion e-mails would be sent daily in 2007 [source: IDC].


Check Yahoo Mail and what it offers, and you'll see a lot more than simply being able to send and receive e-mail messages. For starters, you can do that in 21 languages. A Yahoo Mail account also provides unlimited message storage, e-mail search, contact lists, personalization, spam blockers and virus scanning.

Launched in August 2007, the new version of Yahoo Mail allows users to choose how they want to communicate, switching among e-mail, chat and text-messaging options. This version also adds keyboard shortcuts, direct access through RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds to changing Web content and mobile access from Internet-equipped smartphones and PDAs.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at these and other features of Yahoo Mail and how to use them. First, let's see how easy setting up a Yahoo Mail account is.