Lycos follows suit with one-gigabyte storage

Another day, another 1GB email service. But this time users must pay in return for avoiding adverts

European Web portal giant Lycos has followed Google and Yahoo into the race to provide email users with massive amounts of storage, and claims to be beating these rivals already.

Google caused considerable excitement last month when it announced that it was developing a free 1GB service called Gmail. It also alarmed some people, because of its plan to insert targeted adverts into emails.

Lycos Europe announced on Tuesday that it is upgrading its service to give consumers one gigabyte of email storage.

The new service is already available in the UK, and Lycos is planning to roll it out across Europe. In a somewhat laboured swipe at Google and Yahoo, Lycos was keen to point out that this makes it the first major email specialist to offer a 1GB service. Google's Gmail is still technically in beta, and Spymac, a Web hosting company for Macintosh aficionados, which followed suit with its own free 1GB service, is much less well-known.

"We will be interested to see when our competitors can offer the service that we already provide with a sustainable business model to underpin it. But size is not all that matters," said Alex Kovach, Lycos's European vice president.

Last week, Yahoo revealed it would provide users with 100MB of free email space, and "virtually unlimited space" for paying customers.

Lycos' own 1GB service will be free of adverts, but not free. Instead, users must pay £3.40 per month.