'Age of Marissa' to kick in with Yahoo Mail overhaul?

Rumor du jour has the ex-Googler ready to give a very Gmail-like flavor to Yahoo Mail's design.

Charles Cooper Former Executive Editor / News
Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.
Charles Cooper
2 min read

After months waiting for Yahoo's CEO Marissa Mayer to put her stamp on the company, we may be getting close. A report out late today from All Things D suggests that Yahoo is readying "a major overhaul" of Yahoo Mail for December that will sport "a cleaner, 'more Gmail-like' design."

Not much more is known. Even the original rumor was unclear what this might translate into when it came to the look of the redesign. Given all the attention Mayer devoted to mobile during the course of the company's recent quarterly earnings call, that might be in the cards.

Yahoo declined to comment on the report, but one thing is clear -- the goal of just such a revamp would be to crawl out from under the shadow of Google's Gmail. When Mayer was named Yahoo's chief executive in August, one of her first orders of business was to improve Yahoo's search and e-mail offerings, reportedly holding meetings with Yahoo product leaders to determine why its chief products were losing market share.

Even though the company released a new Mail service in May 2011 with new social-networking features, Yahoo continues to trail Google's Gmail and Microsoft's Hotmail in a tight race for e-mail provider dominance. In data for October released by ComScore, Gmail saw 287.9 million unique worldwide visitors during the period, edging out Hotmail, which finished with 286.2 million unique visitors. Yahoo -- the once mighty e-mail power -- came in third with 281.7 million.

Yahoo, however, holds a comfortable lead in the United States with 76.7 million, compared to second-place Gmail with 69.1 million and third-place Hotmail with 35.5 million.