Even though you just want to start using the website, this lengthy process requires you to manually perform a whole bunch of steps—including switching to your mailbox, trying to find the message the website sent you (which might be in your Spam folder), opening the message, clicking the link, etc. Until recently, we also required people to follow these steps if they wanted to sign up for a Google Account using their existing email address, such as a @yahoo.com, @hotmail.com, or other address.
To make this process simpler, we're now using an Internet standard called OpenID which is supported by several email providers, including Yahoo!. Instead of the process above, Yahoo! users who sign up with Google see the page below with a button that sends them to Yahoo! for verification.
Once you click that button, Yahoo! shows you a page to get your consent to share your email address with Google.
After you agree, you're done and can start using any Google service, such as Google Groups, Docs, Reader, AdWords, etc. We have found that a much larger number of people complete the email verification process when this method is used.
In the future we hope to expand this feature to other email providers, and we also hope other website operators will read more on the Google Code Blog about how they can implement a similar feature.