Email is far from dead; 'no viable replacement' in sight

Summary:Email is not dead, and will not die out any time soon. Most visitors of Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! go straight to email, and even social networking cannot fully compete.

New statistics shed light on the vast importance Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! place on their web-based email services.

Though email is effectively a prehistoric web service, dating back to the launch of the Internet, it maintains its dominance as the most effective communications method we have still today.

Email isn't dead, nor is it 'on its way out'.

Regardless of the 'Facebook effect' and other growing social networks and instant messaging services have on the younger Generation Y, there is no viable replacement in sight.

The figures show that just over 23% of Google visitors visit Gmail, with nearly 40% of Windows Live users going straight to Hotmail, and just under 20% of Yahoo! visitors going to Yahoo! Mail.

Though Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! each has fewer users on their email services than Facebook has, email provides not just a communications platform, but an identity for other social web services. Facebook heavily relies on email to function and perform.

This may not surprise many, as email is the cornerstone of the services provided by these companies, with often only search coming first.

Email is still evolving and is a fluid and dynamic platform. And while spam may be annoying, web services have spent years blotting out the issue, with spam levels dropping significantly in the previous two quarters.

Instant messaging and social networking only offers a strain of what email can provide. Though it may be the primary choice for younger people to engage in with their social lives, in business and the workplace email will still reign as the dominant choice for industry.

Although the Generation Y may find email to be 'unfashionable' and 'outdated' compared to Facebook and instant messaging applications on their smartphones, the very vast majority of smartphone users will have an email account attached to their phone regardless.

While Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! have no interest in losing their hundreds of millions of users overnight, their email service will continue -- and continue to grow, as more take advantage of the now standard features beyond the realms of simply sending and receiving messages.

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Topics: Social Enterprise, Collaboration, Google, Microsoft, Security

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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