Yahoo Mail’s Shopping Saver shows that creative use of AI can lead to unusual new applications. If it works, it could make its way to other email services.
Yahoo Mail is introducing new AI tools, including Shopping Saver, which tracks down forgotten gift cards, discount codes and store credits in users’ inboxes. The tool is also designed to help create messages that can be used to redeem discounts after shopping.
According to Yahoo, at least half of U.S. residents over the age of 18 have at least one unused gift card, coupon or store credit in their email inbox. In total, Yahoo estimates the wealth sitting in email inboxes at $23 billion. Yahoo Mail says Shopping Saver is unique to its email service and currently only available there.
The “Do Not Pay” AI app is similar in theme, but goes in the opposite direction of saving money: GPT-4 is designed to detect and cancel hidden charges, such as forgotten subscriptions.
Yahoo uses Google’s LLM cloud technology
Other new AI features for Yahoo Mail include
- a new search that allows users to ask questions about email content instead of searching for keywords,
- a writing assistant that suggests responses in the user’s preferred style
- and an automated message summary.
Yahoo is using Google Cloud to implement its new AI capabilities, although it does not specify the technology. However, since Google only offers its own models in the cloud, it is likely to be a PaLM language model.
This makes the news interesting for non-Yahoo users as well, because if the Shopping Saver becomes popular, it will likely find its way into alternative email applications in some form.
Shopping Saver and other AI features are available in the Yahoo Mail AI beta, which launched earlier this year for iOS users. The beta is expanding to web browsers in preparation for a public launch. You can sign up here.