Yahoo is planning to update its free Web e-mail service with a radical new look, emulating the feel of desktop applications like Microsoft Outlook. Promising to load messages and execute commands faster than most Web-based e-mail services (including Hotmail) Yahoo's new mail service will be available to select users in the coming weeks. The exact time of general availability is not currently known.

The revamped e-mail – Yahoo calls it the ''most significant overhaul'' ever of Yahoo Mail – is a stark departure from traditional Web-based e-mail services. Users can easily scroll through all the messages in their inboxes, drag and drop messages to folders, delete messages with a single keystroke and use many of the standard keyboard shortcuts common to desktop e-mail programs.

The underpinning of the new e-mail interface is a technology known as Dynamic HTML, which quickly refreshes a user's browser window even before the browser is done communicating with Yahoo's servers. The technology eliminates the delays that come from waiting for Web pages to reload.