The announcement of a free web based email service from Google, christened Gmail, on the 1st of April created ripples across web, especially the cosy office buildings of the competition – Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail. At that time, these popular email services offered only about 2-10MB of storage while free Gmail accounts came with a 1GB of space – more than a hundred fold increase.
It took a long time for Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail to match that! But there was something more in Gmail that set it apart from the rest – its free features.
Since its inception, the Gmail development team has been adding more features or improving the existing ones. And this I suppose is the greatest hurdle the competition needs to jump over. Gmail, being a relative newcomer, still has a much smaller base than the two leaders – Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail (now Windows Live Hotmail) – refer Gmail usage statistics. However, the service attracts more prospective users than the competition.
The following is the list of some of the important Gmail features that put it a notch above the rest.
Between the two Gmail competitors I believe Yahoo! Mail takes its business more seriously and I am not just pointing to the “unlimited storage space” announcement which was definitely a good marketing gimmick. In my opinion, Yahoo! Mail puts in the extra effort to make things a little better for its subscribers – for example, the new and great drag-n-drop interface. I guess, the two players who will remain on the table in the future are Yahoo! Mail and Gmail unless Microsoft does something really great with Hotmail. Time and again, Gmail has proved to its subscribers that it’s probably one of the best, if not the best, email service by continually adding and improving its services and offering features for free – that’s what Yahoo! Mail needs to do.
Starting 2011, Google agreed to pay Mozilla Corporation a tad less than half a billion dollars over a period of 3 years if they kept Google as the default search engine on their Firefox web browser. This was a very smart move from the company. Because in 2008, Google had launched Chrome, their own web browser, which had the world's most popular search engine as the default. Additionally, by the end of 2011, Chrome's usage surpassed that of Firefox, and by early 2012, it had exceeded that of Internet Explorer. It was now the world's most popular web browser. So, even though some might think that Google spent a gargantuan sum of money needlessly, I admire the think-tanks at the company. They kept pushing the usage of their core product, the one that made them the most valuable web company - the Google search engine. By the way, in 2006, Google had dished out $57 million to have their search bar in the Firefox. This amounted to 85% of Mozilla Corporation's total revenue. [more...]