Propono (Latin): to put or set forth, to set or lay out, to offer, to place before, expose to view, display, point out, declare, represent, report, say, relate, set forth, publish, etc.

Thoughts and posts on a wide variety of topics: current events, family, politics, religion, culture, academics, science, technology.

Propono, ergo sum?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

On Gmail, Yahoo! and free web storage

On the occasion of its first anniversary, Gmail announced that it would be increasing the storage limit for its free Gmail service to 2GB, again raising the bar for web-based e-mail services. Yahoo has responded in kind indicating that it will provide its free users with 1GB free (Yahoo! may actually have announced its 1GB prior to Gmail's 2GB announcement). Be that as it may, Gmail is playing hardball in the web-based e-mail space. Furthermore, it intends to continue increasing that limit as it is able. MSN's Hotmail is still offering 250MBs to its free users.

Yahoo!Mail's premium offering (which I use currently for all of my personal e-mail as it allows one to manage multiple e-mail addresses/domains), which costs $19.95/year offers the same storage space (2GB) as Gmail's free offering. They are different offerings (Yahoo allows hierarchical folders, Gmail leaves mail all in one place, sorts by conversation, and assumes you'll search for the mail you need/want). I also continue to hope that Yahoo!'s acquisition of Oddpost may result in some increased zippiness and functionality to its mail interface, though I have yet to see anything. (Could it be that Yahoo acquired Oddpost simply to keep them out of the game? I hope not - their offering was slick.)

The free e-mail is valuable to these companies because e-mail is so sticky. A user will use and see e-mail regularly, resulting in loyalty and additional page views (read: advertising), which page views and loyalty leads to additional premiums on advertising. A virtuous cycle. I don't know that one of these players will necessarily "win" the free e-mail war (though right now, in my opinion, Hotmail is in a distant, distant 3rd), but I do think that many users, like myself, will continue to use all three, each for a different purpose. One may be for e-commerce, one for personal mail, and one for listservs and subscriptions, for example. It's always easiest, of course, to consolidate everything in one place, but my suspicion is that many users (especially web-savvy ones) use all three systems, each for different reasons (including IMs, related services, etc., etc., etc.). Anyway, fun to see additional benefit accruing to the end user across the board.

Does anyone talk about Gmail's privacy implications anymore? There was a lot of noise about this when it first released, but I don't hear too many complaints anymore. (see this.) I think Gadgetopia summarizes well:

Essentially GMail is a big bribe. Google is saying, "We know this system is creepy, but we give you one gigabyte of storage." They're counting on the fact that the downside of email scanning is offset by the generous storage limits. I guess it's up to the consumer to decide if this is true.

So, stay tuned, the world of web-based e-mail continues to evolve....


Post a Comment

<< Home