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Yahoo Mail app for iPhone updated with news and a Google Now rival

Yahoo Mail app for iPhone updated with news and a Google Now rival

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Yahoo is rolling out a significant update to its Mail app for iPhone today with new tabs designed to make your inbox feel more personal. The tab for your inbox is now joined by News, which offers a personalized stream of stories from the Yahoo News team, and Today, which includes weather, stock quotes, and sports scores in addition to a place to search the web. Its personalized stream is Yahoo's take on Google Now — contextualized, real-time recommendations for things you might be interested in.

Yahoo's interest in context and personalization became more apparent in January when it acquired Aviate, makers of a home screen replacement for Android devices. Without a mobile operating system of its own, Yahoo is looking for new ways to capture users' attention on mobile devices. Email is a proven method of attracting eyeballs — it's one of the most uses of a smartphone. Because iPhone users can add Yahoo accounts to the iOS Mail app, it hasn't been clear why a Yahoo Mail user would need to download a dedicated app for their Yahoo account. The redesign offers a new reason: a personalized feed of news and other information that they won't find anywhere else. It's not as powerful as Google Now, but it's a start. You can download the app here; Yahoo says the new tabs are rolling out inside the updated app over the next couple of weeks.