Google takes on Microsoft with rival free e-mail

Google, the dominant online search engine, is to offer a free e-mail service that it promises will block spam as it steps up the battle with its internet rivals Yahoo! and Microsoft.

Offering up to 500 times more storage capacity than Hotmail, the service, called Gmail, could be available within weeks.

Larry Page, co-founder of the company, said users will be able to search their retained e-mail using Google's technology just as they now do for web pages, and the service will be kept free by including text-based adverts related to the content of the e-mails, just as the present search engine does.

The move intensifies the battle for internet users' hearts, eyes and typing fingers by three companies which have become dominant online - Google, used for 80 per cent of online searching, Yahoo!, the most widely used "portal" for news and e-mail, and Microsoft's Hotmail, the biggest free e-mail service.

Microsoft has recently announced plans to build internet searching, performed using its own MSN search engine, into future versions of its dominant Windows operating system. Yahoo! has also stepped up its efforts to challenge Google, dumping it from its own search service and buying an online shopping comparison site with which to lure surfers.

But Google's vast free e-mail offering, allied with its growing range of services - which now includes searching of web pages, news, images and, in the US, a shopping comparison site called Froogle - could work together with its strong brand to pull people away from Hotmail and Yahoo!, which have both had to limit the amount of free storage that they offer to users. "Google is going after Bill Gates," said Hellen Omwando, a consumer analyst at Forrester Research. "E-mail is the number one activity on the Net: when people come online, the first thing they want to do is send e-mail. This will definitely siphon people off from MSN's Hotmail, Yahoo! and AOL."

Rivals were cautious not to dismiss the challenge too soon, having seen how Google - which is still privately owned, and only arrived on the Web in 1998 - has grown to dominate online searching.

Will Collins, Hotmail manager at MSN UK, said: "It will be interesting to see how Google's trial develops and what they ultimately will deliver broadly to consumers. We are focused on ensuring that our 170 million active MSN Hotmail customers are increasingly satisfied with the world's largest web-based e-mail service."

In the past few years Hotmail and Yahoo! have both had to limit the amount of free storage that they offer users - Hotmail to 2 megabytes, and Yahoo! to 4Mb. Larger storage is only available with annual payments: Yahoo! charges $100 for 100Mb storage. Google's offering will let people receive single e-mails that are 10Mb in size, and put virtually their entire e-mail history online.

Kate Burns, head of Google UK's advertising sales, said: "I've used both the Microsoft and Yahoo! free mail products, but I've have had to delete old e-mails, or I've come back and found all my e-mails are gone.

"We believe that the user should have the ability to store all their e-mail."

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Helpdesk Analyst

£23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...

Senior Helpdesk Analyst / Service Desk Co-ordinator

£27000 per annum + pension, 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ind...

Senior Pensions Administrator

£23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Administrator

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Admini...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London