I was astonished to find out that Yahoo Mail doesn’t use UTF-8. There’s no explicit option to set the encoding when I write an email, and the encoding seems to be set according to the My Account – Member Information – Preferred Content. The name “Preferred Content” is particularly confusing, when it’s nothing but a setting for region and language. I tried a few different settings, and the result is pretty strange:

  • US English (and probably all other non Chinese locale): encoding is Japanese (EUC-JP). This is really baffling, and it could be interpreted in bad ways.
  • Chinese (Mainland): encoding is Chinese Simplified (GB18030). This is ok, but the Chinese interface looks kind of weird, and it may actually be served by servers in China, so the performance flutters.
  • Chinese (North America and others): encoding is Chinese Traditional Hong Kong (Big5-HKCSC). It seems reasonable since more “outsea Chinese” are from Hong Kong than from Taiwan.

None of the encodings show up alright in my Outlook 2003. Go figure.

In the old non-Ajax Yahoo Mail, I think it uses the browser’s encoding setting. And gmail has an option to always use UTF-8. I can’t believe Yahoo can’t do this simplest thing right in 2006. Short it!