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July 10, 2004

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It's On

So, as you may or may not know, depending on your degree of nerdiness, Google busted out Gmail a few months ago, with a gigabyte of storage space and some hot new features.

In response, Yahoo! anted up with 2GB of storage. And now they’ve acquired Oddpost, a funky e-mail company with like 12 users but a great reputation for innovation.

So clearly Yahoo! is saying, Bring it. Which is awesome, because when Google brings it, it gets brought.

I predict in two years we’ll be choosing between 100 gigs of free Gspace and a Yahoo! account where you get paid a dollar every time you send an e-mail.

Competition rocks.

Robin-sig.gif
Posted July 10, 2004 at 2:38 | Comments (3) | Permasnark
File under: Technosnark

Comments

Nah. While competition is good for the consumer in the short term, I don't think this "arms race" on storage matters. Google and Yahoo will tire and move on to other things. Yes, storage is a geeky thing. The battle in the free e-mail space will be won with other services for the 85% [average users].

Posted by: Hifman on July 10, 2004 at 10:55 AM

Perhaps more important than the 1GB/2GB storage race is the fact that Yahoo! upped the storage of all of their users almost overnight from 10 to 100MB.

First, going from 10 to 100MB really does make a difference for the average user: a year's worth of grandkids' photos can easily fill up a 10MB limit. 100MB is about as much storage as anyone needs.

Also, it's available on the streets, to everyone: no beta testing, no select core of invitees. (I laughed a couple of years ago when a guy in an Earthlink commercial said "An Earthlink address catches your attention; people take you seriously." Really, can real estate on the *internet* really bring prestige? But the Gmail address -- at least right now -- actually does catch people's attention, if only because not everyone has it, but many people know about it.)

Props to Google, though. Twice in the past year, with Orkut and Gmail, they've brought out services that they easily could have phoned in, parroting the Google name recognition or turning their search site into a Yahoo!-cloned portal. Instead, they've thought big, innovated, and left Yahoo! catching up. Who else with the kind of market share Google's had can say the same?

Posted by: Tim on July 10, 2004 at 01:17 PM

Howard, you're right. It's not about storage space. I have, in theory, hundreds of megabytes available with any address I create at robinsloan.com, but the webmail interface is so clunky that I hate to use it. The real advantage to Gmail -- and to this new Yahoo!/Oddpost interface in the works -- is that they're potentially better e-mail clients than Eudora or (gakkk) Outlook, and they're available anywhere.

And Tim, you're right about the weird prestige of e-mail address domains. A friend just switched from a msu.edu address to a princeton.edu address, and I totally feel cooler sending e-mail to him now.

For journalists, e-mail addresses are valuable assets. I've noticed that more than a few use their full addresses in the 'From' field -- xxx@nytimes.com or yyy@sptimes.com instead of just Xxx or Yyy. Elite domains get attention in crowded inboxes.

Posted by: Robin on July 11, 2004 at 05:42 PM
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