Gmail from Google and Hotmail from Microsoft are two extremely popular free web based email service providers in the world. Though, Gmail is a relative new comer (almost 8 years younger than Hotmail) it has been able to gather a good amount of market share from the two leaders, Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail – refer Gmail usage statistics for details.
The launches of both Gmail from Google and Hotmail were memorable in the history of the web, creating much hullabaloo.
When Hotmail was announced on July 4, 1996 (US independence day), it was probably the first service to offer free web based email accounts that could be accessed from anywhere with a computer that’s connected to the Internet; the launch date symbolizing a “freedom” from ISP based emails. In less than 2 years, Hotmail had 8.5 million subscribers and was bought by Microsoft for $400 million. Hotmail was rechristened MSN Hotmail and is now called Windows Live Hotmail.
The unveiling of Gmail from Google on April 1, 2004 (April Fool’s day) was actually considered a nerdy joke by many because of the sheer size of storage space on offer – 1GB (one gigabyte) – when the competition was providing only a fraction (2 to 10MB) of that. Also, Google rolled out Gmail gradually, through the use of invites which could be sent to prospects only by current account holders. This way the company could monitor and improve the service and avoid a major crash of its web servers by a surge of subscribers rushing in to sign up for a free email account.
Now let’s start with the comparison, however, please bear in mind that not many of the features can be quantified, for example, “ease-of-use” or the intuitiveness of the interface. Also, the list below is in no way “complete”. Your inputs and suggestions are always welcome.
Note: The internet is a vast rapidly transforming “blob”. The information presented below was correct at the time of writing but will definitely change in the near future. If you spot an item that needs to be modified, please do let me know via the feedback form at the end of the page.
|Storage space||7.2GB and increasing daily||5GB|
|Email forwarding||Yes||Only to other Hotmail or live.com accounts|
|POP access||Yes||No – but in the offing (?)
Update: Free Hotmail POP access has started in a few countries.
|Can emails be downloaded?||Gmail emails can be downloaded via many popular email clients||Email download from Hotmail accounts is only through Windows Live Mail. Hotmail on Outlook Express and Windows Mail has been discontinued or may be patchy.
Update: With POP access no available, Hotmail emails can be downloaded using any email program that supports the Post Office Protocol
|Folder to store spam||Yes||Yes|
|Autoreplies||Yes||Yes – vacation autoreply in Hotmail|
|Custom folder creation||No||Yes – great for organizing your emails. Read Hotmail folders for more information.|
|Filters||Yes – refer Gmail filters||Yes|
|Themes – customization of interface||Yes – Gmail themes||Yes – Learn more on how to personalize and customize through Hotmail themes|
|Deactivation if not in use||9 months||120 days|
|Rich-text email composition||Yes – also offers ASCII format on the basic HTML version||Yes|
|Anti-virus for scanning incoming messages||Yes||Yes – Trend Micro virus scanner|
|Email signatures||Yes – Learn how to create Gmail email signatures||Yes – refer Hotmail Signatures|
|Number of versions||2 – Basic HTML for slower connections and standard version – more on Gmail versions.||1|
|Integration with other services||Yes – your key to many Google products||Yes – your passport to live.com services|
|Advertisements in the interface||Yes – text ads||No – Ads are attached at the bottom of outgoing emails. Some users mention seeing banners at the top… probably geo-targeted ads.|
|Ease of use||Yes – though the concept of labels can be confusing at the beginning||Yes|
|Interface layout||Basic and clear||Elegant|
|Name of service||Gmail – Google Mail in the UK and Germany||Windows Live Mail (formerly MSN Hotmail)|
|Has a paid version?||Yes – Google Enterprise||Yes – Hotmail Plus|
|Thumbmail view of images||Yes||Yes – well, sort of|
|File storage||Yes – learn more about Gmail storage.||No|
Based on the above comparison, a lot of you would feel Gmail is the winner hands down… and you may be right. But remember Hotmail has a huge number of subscribers probably many times more than Gmail (refer Gmail usage statistics for details). Anyway, let me know which of these services you prefer.
Way before the World Wide Web (WWW) was created, Ted Nelson described Xanadu, a global network of computers in his books "Computer Lib / Dream Machines" (1974) and "Literary Machines" (1981). The invention of the World Wide Web is credited to Sir Tim Berners-Lee who created the global network while working at CERN, a high-energy physics organisation in Europe. In his original proposal for the WWW, Sir Tim had put Ted Nelson's "Getting it out of our system" as the first reference. [more...]