Monday, April 4

Google Mail vs. Yahoo! Mail - who wins, and who cares?

Funny that this announcement came on the heels of Yahoo!'s decision to up Yahoo! Mail accounts to 1Gb, and Google's decision to see Yahoo! and raise it another 1Gb to offer 2Gb to its Gmail users. As even the product manager admitted in an interview, only a tiny % of customers actually need 2Gb. Suspect fewer than 10% need more than 100Mb.

But everybody gets Phished. Now it's time for Google to really get serious and add anti-viral scanning of email attachments. Yahoo! Mail has offered Norton Anti-Virus scanning of email attachments for a couple of years now, and it is very, very good, stopping both incoming and outgoing viruses.

While we're requesting improvements in Google, que diriez-vous d'ajouter des versions internationales de langue � Gmail? (OK, I got that from AltaVista.)

What's that? Add international language support to Google? You mean people use the Internet in languages other than English? Allah be praised, indeed they do. Why, there's now more than 200 million Europeans using the net alone, and many more Japanese and Chinese-language speakers, and you can bet they would prefer to do it in their native language if possible.

Yahoo! Mail has been available in 10 or so different languages for many years, while Google Mail is still only available in English (though if you're interested in helping, Google is hoping to enlist freelancers to help it make up some ground.)

Google is way behind Yahoo! when it comes to servicing an international audience. Only its search engine is available in languages other than English, and even then, it's a tiny subset of common net languages.

Yahoo! Mail's final hidden advantage over GMail is its integration with Yahoo!'s PIM services - Addressbook, Calendar, Notepad, Photos and Briefcase. They're even accessible via mobile phone (both WAP and SMS) and in some markets, also offer voice control. It's possible to access your whole life over the net with Yahoo! - it's not possible to do that with Google.

GMail may have a little more street cred, a legacy of its lengthy marketing campaign dressed up as an exclusive beta test, and a slightly slicker UI, but both are eroding fast. Where should we look next in web mail functionality? How about incorporating the cool date view slider from Flickr, which Yahoo! recently acquired. In the meantime, GMail looks much more like an 'afterthought product' than a strategic stake in the ground in the desktop wars.

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