Sachin Sharma
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Only a Sith deals in absolutes. I will do what I must.
- Obi Wan Kanobi
- StarWars III - Revenge of the Sith


The E-mails War

Not a very long time back, our very own Subeer Bhatia started a revolution by inventing the E-mail. Even Subeer would have never imagined that one day the whole world will rely so heavily on sending and receiving e-mails. In the recent past, I heard many claims as to how Blogs, Wikis or one such internet technology will outdate e-mails. Nothing is farther from the truth. E-mail still is the backbone of communication using the internet. Blogs and Wikis have their uses but they will not replace e-mails.

Since e-mail’s inception, many e-mail providers have come and gone. The e-mail service itself has improved many folds. Hotmail, Yahoo and the newest kid on the block, Gmail are all wonderful free e-mail providers. I don’t have any basis to this claim but I think that these three also have the highest number of subscribers. Gmail introduced itself as the first large-scale user of the AJAX paradigm. Gmail is not just a set of web pages, but an internet-based application that loads in your browser.

After I saw Gmail, I said to myself, “Wow! The other e-mail providers are now going to have it”. Gmail is both easy and fast to use. To top it all up, Gmail now provides over 2GB of free e-mail space. People have started using Gmail as a virtual drive where they can simply upload their stuff so that they can access them from any computer. After Gmail said “Hello World”, the first thing that most e-mail providers did was obvious. They increased their e-mail space too. If you consider that other e-mail providers also add Calendar and Reminder services along with e-mail, space is now a non-issue. I mean that space does not entice people anymore to switch their e-mail providers or upgrade to a paid account for that matter. So, what does?

Yes, I think it is the service itself. To stay in the market, the e-mail provides realized soon enough that they will have to come up with a service that is better then Gmail. It has been a while but Yahoo recently launched Yahoo’s new e-mail service. It is still in beta, but I have already started liking it. After using Yahoo for just two days, I feel like using it even more. I can’t believe it that you can do much using AJAX. Yahoo has taken AJAX to its limits. Once Yahoo Mail loads, you can hardly distinguish it from a normal desktop application like Outlook Express. Plus, it has “tabs” for crying out loud. I can almost picture Yahoo Mail screaming “Gmail, take that. Now what have you got?” Yahoo is not going to lose this fight. I am sure of that.

That leaves us with Hotmail. Well, in the end, Microsoft always has its way. Even if they are late, they somehow always manage to catch up with the competition and beat them. As word has it, Microsoft has been working on their internet based e-mail application – code named “Kahuna”. I won’t be surprised if Kahuna comes up looking exactly like Microsoft Outlook 2003, which, by the way, I think is the best desktop-based e-mail client. Maybe Kahuna will try to parallel that.

There are many other e-mail provides, but they are more or less on the same track. All of them are trying their best to provide a great service along with lots of free space. As usual, the end users get a wonderful e-mail experience.
Sunday, October 22, 2006 at 4:19 PM. Comments: 1.
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