Way back when free email services like Hotmail and Yahoo dominated the market, a upstart decided to disrupt the whole scene. Free email services were only offering a mere 2 or 5 MB space for your inbox, Google rolled out Gmail with 1 GB storage. Before Google became the big web giant it hired Marissa Mayer among it’s first few employees.
Marissa Mayer worked on web interface and web server projects but also spent time on some iconic projects like Gmail (source) and Google Maps among other things. Today the same Marissa Mayer is the CEO of Yahoo and now Yahoo is borrowing a page from Gmail and trying to be disruptive by offering a staggering 1 TB storage space with Yahoo Mail.
Yahoo Mail has a new interface with new themes that stay across platforms which other than web include Android, iOS and Windows. The important the changes are the 1 TB storage space, increasing the limit of filters to 200 up from 100 previously. There is also a new compose layout.
It also allows attachment photos to be previewed in full screen.
Yahoo Mail’s new UI remains consistent on mobile devices. The Android and iPhone apps will also have a new swipe features. Yahoo is harnessing the power of Flickr photos to give beautiful new themes to users. The 1 TB space is just so much, that it might be very lucrative for small businesses which are shelling out money for a lot less storage space with their email service.
This year we have seen two of the popular E-mail clients getting redesigned – Microsoft brought life to Outlook with Metro-esque approach to mail, Yahoo Mail got a cleaner look along with updates to mobile apps, soon after Marissa Mayer has become CEO.
Adding to this, AOL has now released a new E-mail client called Alto. Interestingly, it supports E-Mail accounts other than AOL Mail, which includes Gmail, Yahoo mail, and more.
The most highlighted thing in the app is Stacks – a feature which categorises your incoming E-mail into meaningful groups. So your Twitter/Facebook notifications E-mails are segregated from the daily deals E-mails from Amazon/eBay.
You can create custom Stacks and even make the incoming E-mail skip inbox and go right into that stack – so you have a more cleaner inbox.
It also has a Boomerang-like feature which lets you snooze an E-mail, so you can reply to it after a specified amount of time.
The interface looks clutter free and gives more of a desktop app like look, especially with features like two-column layout for reading E-mails, support for tabbed navigation.
I’m pretty sure it won’t grab many users from other web-based E-mail clients, but nevertheless, still worth a try.
Alto is still in beta, but you can sign up for an invite.
If you get a lot of Email daily, then you must also be spending a lot of time in reading and replying to them. The problem is, the constant stream of incoming Email make it hard to concentrate on doing that.
Inbox Pause is a nice little Chrome extension which solves this by adding a pause button in Gmail. Just hit the blue ‘Pause’ button in Gmail’s side bar, authorize the app through your Google account and the service will become active.
In short, it’ll aggregate all your incoming Email and show it when you resume it. You get to see a yellow bar on the top when the service goes active, notifying you to click the ‘Unpause’ button to stop the service.
You can also setup an automated message for incoming mail, but I think it hardly helps in any way, as people mostly end up sending a chat message if it’s urgent.
The extension is made by the same people who developed Boomerang for Gmail, a very popular plugin for scheduling Emails.
How do you handle Email overload? Put that in the comments.
Microsoft has replaced Hotmail with Outlook.com. Head over to Outlook.com and sign-up for a new account or sign-in with your existing Hotmail account.
The layout is new and different, with a focus on reducing spam and showing more relevant content.
Currently, it is in preview mode but soon Hotmail users will get prompted to make the move.
With Outlook.com, Microsoft has increased controls for managing newsletters, along with showing Twitter and Facebook updates within the layout itself. In other words it has recognized that a lot of personal communication happens on social networking more than email.
Outlook.com’ s Design and Features
The new service has a neat design and with 360 million accounts, this could be a good reboot for them. More importantly for Microsoft, keep them away from Gmail.
I am quite impressed with the design and layout of the new email service. Microsoft has really done some out of the box thinking for coming up with this design. The design is consistent with their metro-styled Windows 8 layout design.
The social integration allows users to chat with Facebook friends, look up photos shared by contacts, all from the mail box.
The compose layout has minimalism, which is actually a great idea as it ends up being a distraction free environment while writing an email.
I use Gmail to manage all my emails. Creating filters and assigning incoming emails different labels is a handy way to sort out your email. But tracking the emails you send are not as easy to sort out. Some might require following up while some might not. This is why Gmail has recently introduced allowing users to add labels to emails even before sending them out. 😉
Just click on compose and start writing your email. A new option to add a label to that email appears. Users can also ‘star’ it along with assigning labels.
Unfortunately I did not see this option with my Google Apps account but hopefully they will roll it out for App accounts soon.
You might also want to check on Gmail Undo Send feature, which allows users to stop an email they might have sent by mistake.
Gmail over the last year did concentrate on some fancy changes like a new design and integrating it with Google+ circles. Many of these changes were cosmetic but it seems that Gmail is now back to rolling out features which are more productive.
What are your views on Gmail and its changes over the last year? Do you think it is not churning out productive features with as much regularity as before? Do drop in your comments.
I know many friends who are email addicts and do not like using Twitter only because they cannot sent out tweets from their email address. It makes sense as we can reply to comments on Facebook via email.
Now there is hope for people to post on Twitter by sending an email with Twitemail.
Sign-in with your Twitter credentials and authorize Twitemail to use your Twitter account.
Now the next page takes you to a page that allows you to generate your secret email id. It is supposed to be secret as if you share this email address, someone might be able to post on your account using it. Do not worry, you can change the secret email and generate a new one too.
Now take this email id and compose an email from any email address.
Send the email and it can be then seen posted on Twitter. 🙂
I liked using this service as it allows me post something on Twitter using my email. I do wish there was a way to register your email so it would be more secure, even if you shared your secret email id to send tweets accidentally.
The best way to stop spam is not share your email address. This is why people like using temporary or disposable email addresses. We have covered many services that allow creating temporary or disposable email addresses. Such services are ideal if you want to sign up anonymously to a forum or even if you want to register with some service.
With Mmmmail.com, not only can you create a temporary email id, but also track the email sent to that address using RSS feeds.
Just add your nickname in the box and click on ‘Check mmmmail’ The email address is created and we get a new RSS feed to keep track of these messages sent to this address.
If you use a tablet, the Gmail interface is a lot different from the browser version. An advantage of the tablet like interface is that, we can preview an email before we open it.
When time is in short supply, it is helpful to get a quick preview of an email to check if the mail should be read or left unread.
Enable Preview Pane on Gmail
In Gmail Labs, look search for Preview Pane and enable the lab experiment for your Gmail account.
This will enable your Preview Pane on your Gmail layout. Now look up your Inbox and check the right-hand corner at the top, we get an option to toggle split-screen. Clicking on it once, will allow you to preview emails without opening them.
Finally you can preview your email. Under General Settings you can set the time for a email to be marked ‘Read’ to ‘Never‘ if you do not intend to use this layout as default. 😉
According to ZDNet, the leaked video was shown at the Microsoft Global Exchange conference. The clip made it out and Microsoft has not confirmed nor denied that they were involved in the clip spoofing Gmail.
The spoof, points towards Gmail and suggests it has no regard for user privacy with the quote “Your email is your business, Gmail makes it theirs”
Difference between the two ads
Gmail points not to their rivals lack of features but showcase their own features which are impressive. They suggest AOL, Hotmail and Yahoo are old-fashioned but it did not really attack these services, keeping the focus on its superior features.
Microsoft has interestingly, attacked the “don’t be evil” motto of Google, suggesting that Google has no regard for privacy.
In the end the service which is intuitive and makes email usage easy, will come out the winner. At the moment for me that service is Gmail.
The latest public relations push by Gmail is called ‘Email Intervention’. If you visit your Gmail login page, it will show up a new feature asking users to ‘Save their friends from outdated email’. 🙂
Google is looking to tap into peer pressure from it’s happy users, to get their friends using other email services that it is time to move over to Gmail.
Check out the video below, where the presenter suggests that Gmail users should get their friends who use ‘embarrassingly out of data address’ to move over to Gmail. The video also adds that these email services were around when people still used Floppy Disks, Portable Disc Player, VHS Cassettes. This is a reference to Hotmail, Yahoo and AOL which were around since the late 90’s.
Gmail’s Email Intervention Video
Why is Gmail pushing so hard to get new users?
Gmail is a great way for Google to get new members using its various other services. It also might indirectly give a push to Google+.
It might be poking fun at Hotmail, AOL and Yahoo as old and outdated, but honestly as a regular Gmail user, I cannot imagine moving back to the older email services and still wonder why some friends still do not use Gmail.
What are your views on Gmail? Do you have friends who still have not discovered Gmail? Do drop in your comments.