After outcry, Yahoo Mail brings back tabs

Yahoo Mail users can breathe a bit easier now — their beloved tabs are back.

Yahoo redesigned its popular free email service in October, but in an attempt to streamline its look, removed the tab features that allowed users to multitask. That, along with a host of other changes and bugs, frustrated longtime users and created a vocal online backlash that the Sunnyvale Internet giant was forced to address.

“We’re bringing back tabs, but this time, they’re a bit smarter,” Jeff Bonforte, Yahoo’s senior vice president for communications, wrote in a blog post Thursday. They’ll have a new look, though –instead of being lined up above the main toolbar, tabs will be an option in a dropdown menu, which will then show previews of each tab a user has open. The feature will be rolled out to users over the next few days.

“As we continue to improve Yahoo Mail, we’ll keep listening to your input,” Bonforte wrote. Yahoo has more than 100 million email users.

Reaction from users was mostly positive, though some still grumbled about the new look. And some were grateful, but not quite forgiving: “Thank you for Tabs! I really hope someone got fired! Happy Christmas,” one anonymous user posted Friday.

It’s been a rough couple of months for Yahoo Mail, which has undergone a drastic overhaul under CEO Marissa Mayer‘s tenure. Besides the redesign, its plan to recycle millions of dormant email accounts ran into numerous problems and exposed potential security flaws, and a server problem earlier this month left thousands of users unable to access their email for more than a week.



At top: Yahoo Mail’s new tabs preview, also called “boss mode.” (Yahoo photo)

Mike Murphy Mike Murphy (382 Posts)

Mike Murphy is a web producer at the Mercury News, and also writes for Good Morning Silicon Valley and 60-Second Business Break.