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Hotmail passes Gmail in webmail storage race

The bar in free web-based email has just been raised – this time by Microsoft. The software giant in Redmond on Wednesday said that it would bump its 2GB storage limit for Hotmail users up to 5GB.

The storage race may have started with Gmail, but now Google’s webmail service sits in last spot of the “big three” with under 2.9GB of storage. Yahoo still leads the pack with its advertised unlimited storage.

More than twice the storage isn’t the only thing new for Hotmail users. As noted by Hotmail program manager Ellie Powers-Boyle’s blog, the webmail should now respond to user commands faster. “We’ve spent more time in this release identifying what parts of the product are slowest and fixing those. We hope that you notice an improvement when this update is released to your account, and we’ll continue our work on performance in future releases,” Powers-Boyle wrote.

Hotmail users with multiple contact entries for the same person will find that the new version will have consolidated all duplicates into one. Powers-Boyle gives the example, “If you get a message from ‘Steve Kafka’ and click “add contact” but there’s already a Steve Kafka, we’ll let you know and let you add Steve’s other e-mail address to your existing ‘Steve Kafka’ contact entry. We’re just trying to be smarter to make your life easier and faster. There’s also a wizard you can run to clean up your existing duplicate contacts.”

Hotmail has also taken a page from Gmail’s playbook and now blocks images and links in messages from unknown senders as protection from spammers and phishing scams. The new version also opens up email forwarding, but free accounts may only forward to other Hotmail accounts – and area that Gmail is still ahead.

Another feature that should please Hotmail users is now the option to turn off the “Today” page. Powers-Boyle said that the feature to see the inbox immediately was a product of listening to user demands, writing, “I hope you remember this as the Hotmail team listening to what you want.”

The Hotmail team says it will continue to add improvements according to user feedback.

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Attachment limit
By mdogs444 on 8/16/2007 10:50:12 AM , Rating: 5
To be honest, i rarely ever keep over 50GB total in my mailbox on yahoo. So i dont really need the 5GB. what i would really like to see is an increase in the actual attachment size that you can use...10MB just isnt enough nowadays with applications, 10+MB digital cameras, hd video, etc.

RE: Attachment limit
By mdogs444 on 8/16/2007 10:50:40 AM , Rating: 2
I meant that to be "50MB", not "50GB" :-)

RE: Attachment limit
By omnicronx on 8/16/2007 11:21:20 AM , Rating: 2
0MB just isnt enough nowadays with applications, 10+MB digital cameras, hd video, etc.
but isnt that the point :) give us the illusion of unlimited space when really nobody can ever fill even close to that amount (unless gmail drive like programs still exist) Its all marketing, anyone who uses their email to store that much data is just waiting for a disaster to happen.

RE: Attachment limit
By Oregonian2 on 8/16/2007 1:34:23 PM , Rating: 2
Having that much email isn't unreasonable, I think my home machine's email directory (Thunderbird) is in the 7~9GB sort of range. But that's more than 10~15 years of email (or something like that) including a lot of yahoo (onelist, etc) mailing lists. I just wouldn't want to have that stored remotely where at the flip of a policy change could be deleted with no practical way of transferring it somewhere in a useful form. I just don't trust web storage of anything useful which is why I personally wouldn't use web storage based service products of any sort for anything that I cared about. My local backup methods may have their faults but I have control over them and they won't go chapter 7 and be gone tomorrow.

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