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Yahoo Mail rolls out new features and themes to celebrate 16th birthday

For its Sweet 16, Yahoo Mail has dodged frilly dresses and expensive parties and instead opted for a revamped mobile and desktop experience. A more elegant and intuitive Mail is now available for the web, iOS and Android users.

Taking a page from Google's playbook, Yahoo is introducing "conversations" — emails grouped in threads for a time-saving view of an entire exchange.

"We redesigned Yahoo Mail to be more efficient, too," Jeffrey Bonforte, senior vice president of communication products, said in a blog post.

Common needs like searching, starring, or deleting can now be accomplished with one click in Webmail by hovering over or selecting a message. Users can also collapse the inbox's left-hand toolbar to make more room for productivity.

Yahoo is also handing out party favours in the form of free features previously reserved for premium Mail Plus customers. Now available to the masses are disposable email addresses, enhanced filters, automatic message forwarding, and offline access with POP, as well as a massive 1TB of storage.

"It sure beats one of those annoying noisemakers," Bonforte quipped.

Most notably, Yahoo is rolling out themes — visually rich backgrounds curated from your Flickr photos, browser, smartphone, and tablet. Users can choose a new photo theme online or via their mobile gadget, and easily apply it across all devices.

The new desktop experience is now available in English in the UK, Canada, the US, the Philippines, Malaysia, India, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa; more countries and languages are expected soon. The mobile apps, meanwhile, are available globally today on iOS, Android, and Windows 8.

This app boost comes four months after Yahoo Mail Classic made way for the new version of Mail, which uses a scanning technique already in place on services like Gmail.

In an effort to jumpstart interest in the updated email service, Yahoo recently recycled a number of dormant email addresses, allowing some users to snag their desired Yahoo IDs. As you might expect, those people received messages intended for the previous account holders, so Yahoo added a "Not my email" button to redirect unwanted messages.