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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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Hotmail vs Gmail
By gramboh on 8/16/2007 12:06:19 PM , Rating: 5
I've been using Gmail since early in the beta and love the interface (as far as webmail clients go). It is lightweight and FAST.

Hotmail is horrible and slow and the graphical advertisements slow things down even further. I use it only for spam/forum sign-ups etc. Most people seem to do this.

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By Bonrock on 8/16/2007 12:24:24 PM , Rating: 3
I'm curious to know if your impressions of Hotmail are based on using the new Windows Live Hotmail, or are you comparing Gmail with the old clunky MSN Hotmail? If it's the former, I have to say I don't know where you get the impression that Hotmail is "horrible and slow." If it's the latter, then you're just not being fair.

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By Master Kenobi on 8/16/2007 1:38:02 PM , Rating: 2
I use both, and both are the exact same........ well, because I pipe both of them into Outlook 2007 :)

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By omnicronx on 8/16/2007 1:50:06 PM , Rating: 2
I just like gmail because its not cluttered with anything but your email. Hotmail has tons of crap that most people never even touch, i dont sign on to Hotmail so that i can easily access features.
I also use outlook 07, but i seem to have problems filtering junkmail, it keeps blocking emails i send to myself heh. And if i exclude my email, i get alot of phised junk email where the sender comes up as myself ;)

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By Master Kenobi on 8/16/2007 1:52:02 PM , Rating: 2
Stop phishing yourself then eh?

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By omnicronx on 8/16/2007 1:55:24 PM , Rating: 4
cant help it, its addictive, like crack or pcp.

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By TomZ on 8/16/2007 3:54:30 PM , Rating: 2
Why do you send e-mail to yourself? Maybe you need to make some friends. Kidding!

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By omnicronx on 8/16/2007 4:03:46 PM , Rating: 2
lol, I work in two locations, and i live in two locations. And if i left all my work and schoolwork up to a USB key, i would surely lose it. I also have 3 computers, 1 at home, 1 at school, 1 laptop for school heh. (yes even i am confused)

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By stromgald on 8/16/2007 2:36:18 PM , Rating: 2
He's probably thinking of the old hotmail. The new one is much better and is about as quick as gmail, but I think they still get hit with alot of spam.

They also have alot of features that make it look like Outlook. Those features are nice if you're scheduling meetings and stuff, but for common e-mail usage, gmail's simplistic approach is more appealing IMO.

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By OutsidaII on 8/16/2007 2:52:10 PM , Rating: 2
I've used the new hotmail twice now and it's just as frustrating as the old one. It still doesn't always refresh when you've read messages and the interface is bad in either version. The only thing I like about hotmail over Gmail is that it has actual folders not just tags. Otherwise Gmail is far superior.

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By kusala on 8/16/2007 3:19:14 PM , Rating: 2
I use both and Gmail is nice but very slow. Takes forever to load up.

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By omnicronx on 8/16/2007 3:40:55 PM , Rating: 2
only the first time you load it, it should be cached after that.

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By Loc13 on 8/16/2007 3:31:29 PM , Rating: 2
We can't improve the spam filter, so here's more storage space to cover it!!

Seriously though, I had high hope when they released the new Live Hotmail, but the fact that I still get tons of spam everyday is a deal breaker for me.

On the other hand, Gmail does a very good job at filtering all the spam and junk mails.

Note: I have more forum accounts using gmail than hotmail.

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By heffeque on 8/16/2007 6:48:27 PM , Rating: 2
New Live Mail is still slower than Gmail (not that much anymore though).

But... downloading and uploading attachments in Live Mail is still A LOT slower than in Gmail.

Nothing more to add.

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By Axbattler on 8/16/2007 3:20:58 PM , Rating: 2
I remember giving up on Hotmail after all the junk I received in it back in 1997. And it's not like I signed up to newsletters and such - the username was probably too short/simple. The interface at the time was fairly standard in my book. Having recently seen someone use it though, it doesn't seem that bad. Had I not have such a bad experience with it, and had the interface been improved prior I tried GMail, I might've stuck with it.

At the very least, it is much better than Lycos Mail, which is probably the worst webmail interface I've used these days (again, back then I thought it was nothing special - suited for sign-ups and such). I've kept the account all this time expecting it to be improved eventually, but that does not seem to be the case. Unless there is a setting I've missed, you can not even view more than 10 emails at the same time!

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By stevenplatt on 8/16/2007 7:31:25 PM , Rating: 2
I think the storage race is getting ridiculous. Who uses 5gigs of email storage? I am aware of the plug ins and other software tweaks that will allow you to use them as remote storage. but gimme a break. If you are doing that, then you probably have an FTP server of your own. Personally, I think anything after 1gig can be advertised as unlimited storage. I have had my Gmail account since beta and after 2+ years, it hovers at 2% usage. Besides, none of this storage will be useful as long as there are limits on attachment sizes. No-one needs to save emails dating 10 years back.

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By timmiser on 8/17/2007 4:56:48 AM , Rating: 2
Uhm I do. I've been using Yahoo mail since the '90's and have lots of gigs worth of space being used in my inbox. To really take advantage of it, you have to change your philosiphy about the inbox, folders, and storage. For example, I never delete emails...ever. And never will. If I ever need to find an old email sent years ago, it is no problem to search for it and find it immediately. Otherwise, I will never bother looking for it. With unlimited storage, there is just no reason to ever delete old email.

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By borowki on 8/16/2007 7:56:00 PM , Rating: 2
Who cares which one is better? For most people switching is not an option. The whole point of using web email is stability. I have had my Hotmail account for over a decade. Whatever might come I'm sticking with it.

RE: Hotmail vs Gmail
By Quiescent on 8/19/2007 1:58:07 AM , Rating: 2
I must agree. I can access Gmail on Lynx. I think that gmail is just fine. I have it to where I make my filters archive it and send it to a label to keep my inbox cleaner. :o If I'm real lazy, I make it put newsletters in the trash automatically. Plus, gmail is REALLY good on keeping the spam out of the inbox. I currently have 1079 spam in my spam box. Nobody gets blocked out if it's from someone important. <3 for gmail.

I've been using gmail since around 2004.

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