PC World has an article on the upcoming improvements to Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail. While not my primary email application, I use both services for one thing or another and am looking forward to the upcoming improvements.
Along with Gmail, these are the most popular web based email services. I never managed an invitation to beta test either service so this is the best I can do for a report.
It’s a little hard to tell so far, but it looks like the new Hotmail (renamed Windows Live Mail) will strongly and naturally resemble Outlook. That will be convenient for those of us who use Outlook for email.
The main feature that I will be looking for is the ability to check email from the web based service via Outlook when I’m at home. Right now I do that with both Gmail and Hotmail. Currently, you have to pay for an upgrade to Yahoo! Mail in order to have Outlook access. I don’t know if that will change with the new version. If it doesn’t, that is a significant disadvantage.
While I like most things Google, including Gmail, its unusual (perhaps evolutionary, perhaps not) folder and inbox structure would make me hesitant to use it as my primary email application. Given all of the above, my money is on Hotmail to win this race.
The bottom line is that we have 3 major web-based email providers engaged in a feature and service war for our business. That is a very good thing for consumers.