Yahoo Mail goes 1GB

The company has quadrupled the storage capacity offered to users of its free Web-based e-mail service.In an effort to keep up with search giant Google, Yahoo said on Wednesday that by the end of April, its e-mail users will automatically receive the storage upgrade.

The company has quadrupled the storage capacity offered to users of its free Web-based e-mail service.

In an effort to keep up with search giant Google, Yahoo said on Wednesday that by the end of April, its e-mail users will automatically receive the storage upgrade.

Rachel Watt, a product manager at Yahoo Australia and New Zealand, said the company's 1GB service will also be available globally to keep up with the public's hunger for pictures and attachments.

"We know that people are using their Yahoo Mail accounts to send and store more attachments, photos and important messages than ever before," Watt said in a statement.

Google, Yahoo's biggest rival for e-mail services, launched a beta version of its 1GB Gmail offering almost one year ago. The company has been gearing up for what is expected to be a full launch of the service later this year.

To receive a Gmail e-mail address, new users can only join if they are invited by existing users. However, in February Google increased the number of invitations its members could send from a mere four to 50.

Since Gmail premiered last year, free e-mail has changed. Popular Web mail services such as Yahoo and Microsoft's Hotmail had offered strict storage limitations to their in-boxes, and required people to pay extra for additional space.

Shortly after Gmail was released, Yahoo announced plans to boost its storage to 100MB from 4MB, and then upgraded it again to 250MB in November. Subsequently, Microsoft said it would implement its own storage boost to 250MB.

Besides the 1GB of storage, Yahoo Mail will offer antivirus scanning. The service currently uses Symantec's Norton Antivirus to detect viruses, but prohibits people from opening the attachment instead of ridding the file of its infection.

CNET News.com's Jim Hu contributed to this report.