While we’ve seen Yahoo Mail grow increasingly more social over the past couple years, today the site unveiled its first major redesign in five years. The new Yahoo Mail promises to be faster, spam-free and full of new features that bring apps, social connections and communications beyond the simple email to its users.

The first thing you’ll notice about the new Yahoo Mail Beta is the new look and functionality. Everything is less static, more customizable and more in line with everything else you see on the Web these days. That is, you can customize the column sizes and rather than continually clicking “next” to go to another page, your email-filled inbox simply scrolls on until you’ve reached the end and everything feels like its happening right now. For those of you like me, who have way to many unread emails sitting in there, it’s great.

Yahoo says in today’s announcement that the new Yahoo Mail Beta “is more than two-times faster”. To get there, Yahoo redesigned the page using CSS3 and therefore fewer images, reducing the download size by 35%. The company also pushed the mail servers to cloud-based proxies, so whenever you type “mail.yahoo.com” into your browser, it goes to the closest proxy by network distance. According to the Yahoo Developer Blog, this can increase transfer speed by up to 25%. To further speed up the pace, Yahoo began precaching data for users already signed into the homepage and streamlined some other server traffic.

In addition to all of this, the new Yahoo Mail goes beyond email, bringing Twitter and Facebook into the mix as well as allowing you to send SMS directly from your email account. It also adds applications, like Flickr, Evite or PayPal, which bring extra functionality directly to your email account.

For a full list of new features on Yahoo Mail, take a look at Yahoo’s announcement and give the new Yahoo Mail Beta a trial run of your own.

mike melanson