Yahoo Polishes E-Mail Search Tool

Taking a cue from Google's Gmail, which emphasizes search over sorting, Yahoo has expanded the search functionality offered by its Web mail service. To start, Search results are now broken down into five categories: Senders, Folders, Attachments, Message Status, and Date.

Searching within attachments was added based on feedback from users, says Drew Garcia, Senior Product Manager for Yahoo! Mail. "An email message is often just metadata around an attached document, which might be the heart of the content," Garcia wrote in the Yahoo! Search blog.

In addition, users can now search based on prefix by typing just the first few letters of a person's name. For example, a search for "Chris" would now pull up "Christopoulos."


Two new search views have also been added to Yahoo! Mail. The first displays thumbnails of all photos contained in search results. Clicking on a thumbnail displays a larger version of a photo for downloading.

A new attachment view offers a similar feature, displaying thumbnails of commonly used file types in a column layout for easy sorting.

A small number of Yahoo! Mail users will begin seeing the search improvements starting today, with the features rolling out to all members over the next month.

"We are rolling out these features gradually to give us time to thumbnail the millions of photos and attachments and index the billions of messages Yahoo! Mail users around the world have accumulated (we're talking about petabytes of data)," explained Yahoo's Garcia.

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