Best Web email service: Gmail

CNET has just started what will be an intriguing series comparing the 'web 2.0' apps of the Big 3 Internet companies: "The companies aim to integrate their multiple services and serve up new and comprehensive suites that capture your exclusive attention and loyalty, but does one brand stand out above the rest?

CNET has just started what will be an intriguing series comparing the 'web 2.0' apps of the Big 3 Internet companies:

"The companies aim to integrate their multiple services and serve up new and comprehensive suites that capture your exclusive attention and loyalty, but does one brand stand out above the rest? Stay tuned in the weeks ahead as we examine the new, dynamic e-mail and calendar services, maps, and more from Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, and their scrappy contenders."

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They've started out by comparing the web email services of the 3: Gmail, Yahoo Mail beta and Windows Live Mail. Here's a comprehensive feature comparison chart. The verdict is one I totally agree with: Gmail is the best web email service. CNET's Elsa Wenzel concludes:

"...all this dragging and dropping [of Yahoo Mail and Windows Live Mail] seems primitive next to Gmail's automated labeling options. We give the Web 2.0 edge to Gmail for thinking outside the box. Gmail's integration with Google Calendar, Chat, and Maps feels logical and not forced, and if there have to be ads on the page, we prefer Google's text messages off to the side over Microsoft's banner ads any day. Furthermore, true to the Web 2.0 spirit of sharing, Gmail's open code enables devotees to hack new features."

Those reasons and more are why I named Gmail the 'best of breed' web email product in my Web Office suite roundup a couple of months ago. As I noted then, Gmail was probably the first email system that was built purely for the Web. The drag and drop functionality that Yahoo and Microsoft use is really a desktop email function ported to the Web, whereas Gmail came up with something Web-native - automated labeling.

Do you agree - is Gmail still the best web email service around?

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