The free e-mail market today is dominated by there main players - Yahoo Mail, MSN Hotmail and GMail from Google. They are all world known and popular services, which mostly determine what is happening in the specific market segment. What do they have to offer to their users?
Yahoo Mail (mail.yahoo.com) was among the first and stays among the best known free mail services. Created by one of the most significant Internet players, Yahoo, known for its web search engine, Yahoo Mail gained popularity among web users at once. Yahoo mail proposals have always been on the top. Now it offers 1 Gb of disk space, perfect spam filters, additional tools like calendar and organizer, and international email address: email@example.com. However, Yahoo does not support POP3 and SMTP. Actually, the opportunity to get these protocols support exists: users can pay $20 to Yahoo Company to get POP3 and SMTP support as well as additional 1Gb of disk space.
Hotmail (hotmail.com) - being powered by Microsoft Net, this service is certainly worth mentioning in this article. Actually, it does not have any outstanding features or options, which are not offered by other e-mail providers. Surprising but true, Hotmail does not present many advantages to its users. The size of disk space available is typical: it is 250 Mb for USA citizens. Security options are implemented through the use of Secure Protocol HTTPS, which reduces the web pages rendering by browser. POP3 and SMTP support is unavailable in Hotmail, so Web Interface is the only way for users to get access to their mail boxes. True to say, recently Hotmail has started a special postmaster service, aimed to improve its free e-mail functionality, including spam protection.
Gmail (gmail.com) - Google announced about its free mail service in 2004, and made several revolutionary changes on the free e-mail market at once. First, Gmail offered 2 Gb of disk space. That is more than enough for storing all the incoming and outgoing messages in the mail box. The volume of the files attached to e-mail messages is not limited in this service, so you can freely send large images or videos. Web interface is very nice, user friendly and easy to navigate, it is not overloaded with annoying ads and banners. Gmail offers its clients many convenient mail box features: message sorting, text formatting and searching tools are integrated into the web interface of Gmail. Moreover, the POP3 support allows users to get incoming messages with mail client software. Gmail itself has a built-in tool to notify users about new incoming messages. For their convenience, there is an option to import personal address book from Outlook Express or other mail clients. Additional advantage of Gmail service is its interface structure, which complies with any web browser thus ensuring correct rendering of web pages.
These are the main and the most popular providers of free e-mail services in the Internet. There are certainly a lot more of them, so the final choice is, of course, up to users.