Yahoo! on Tuesday began a global overhaul to its free email service, making it faster and better integrated with hot social networking services Facebook and Twitter.
A revamped version of Yahoo! Mail introduced in a beta, or test, program in October will be available as an upgrade in coming weeks to all 284 million users of the Web-based service.
"Yahoo!'s vision for online communications brings together all the tools that people use to connect -- email, chat, SMS, and social updates -- and makes it easier for them to share content and engage in conversations," said chief product officer Blake Irving.
"We're delivering on this strategy with the latest version of Yahoo! Mail."
The upgraded software will be available to smartphone maker Nokia, US telecom service Verizon and other Yahoo! partners that make devices or provide broadband Internet services.
The new version of Yahoo! Mail has been streamlined for speed and designed to let people easily send or receive Facebook updates or Twitter messages directly from their inboxes.
Messages from people listed among a person's contacts are given priority and raised to the tops of inboxes.
Search tools were improved to make it easier to find pictures, videos or other information in email inboxes that provide unlimited storage space.
The email service was engineered to recognize Internet links to videos or photos, then automatically display thumbnail previews of images.
Yahoo! "doubled down" on spam fighting technology to filter out junk email. The email service was also better tailored to mobile devices in a nod to the booming popularity of smartphones and tablet computers.
The faded Internet search star has been redefining itself as a "premier digital media company" after forming an alliance with Microsoft to have Bing handle online queries at Yahoo! web pages.