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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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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.

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