Yahoo Launches PhotoMail Service, Tightens E-Mail Security

May 26, 2005 (03:05 PM EDT)

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Yahoo Inc. on Thursday launched in beta a photo e-mail service that allows consumers to send as many as 300 photos taken from their computers or the web.

Also on Thursday, the Sunnyvale, Calif., portal said it has added security features to its web-mail service to help recipients determine the authenticity of e-mail senders.

PhotoMail, which is meant to simplify the process of sharing pictures over the Internet, is a new feature within the company's web-mail service Yahoo Mail. The new e-mail service has been tightly integrated with Yahoo's general service for organizing and sharing digital photos.

Picture files can be dragged and dropped into PhotoMail from a computer user's hard drive, the Yahoo Photos service, a web site or Yahoo's Image Search, which is an index of more than 1.5 billion images on the web. Pictures are displayed in as thumbnail previews, which can be adjusted in size and quality. Subscribers can add captions and borders to the pictures.

To draw recipients to its general photo service, the full-size version of pictures sent through PhotoMail are stored on the sender's Yahoo Photos account. If a sender doesn't have an account, then one is created when he sends his first PhotoMail message.

Recipients can print the photos, order prints, save in their own Yahoo Photos accounts or store on their hard drives.

Photo-sharing services are effective in keeping people on a web portal longer, giving them more exposure to advertising and other services, experts say. Yahoo has aggressively expanded its photo services.

Last month, for example, Yahoo and retailer Target Corp. launched a co-branded photo site that lets people store, share and print pictures. In the fall, people using the site will be able to order prints online and pick them up within a few hours at their local target stores, the companies said.

The partnership included marketing of the site on and in stores on a phased in basis. Target has 1,330 stores in 47 states nationwide.

On the Yahoo Mail announcement, the company said it has implemented DomainKeys e-mail authentication technology to help increase protection from spam, e-mail forgery and phishing.

Through the technology, a tag has been added under the "from" line of e-mail to provide more information to recipients about the origin of the messages. The DomainKeys indicator confirms whether the e-mail comes from the domain listed in the "from" line.