What’s New with Hotmail, Gmail and Apple?
Karen is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
Email must feel like a wallflower at the senior prom, lost in the shadow of its more glamorous smartphone and tablet siblings. Fortunately for us, email providers haven’t lost sight of their errant child and have recently designed some new and awesome email features.
Way back in 1998, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) bought Hotmail, made some upgrades and, by 2004, had all but abandoned it. Eight years later, Hotmail has been dramatically updated and rechristened with a new name: Outlook.com.
The new landing page is clean, uncluttered and easy to navigate. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are integrated for easy use with Skype to be added soon. Online chats are available through Facebook. Advertisements no longer appear throughout the page (thank goodness) but are found in a column on the right hand side. Outlook also has new features designed to handle the junk mail and advertising mass mailings that typically stuff your email inbox.
Hotmail has approximately 324 million users, or 36% of the global email market, according to comScore figures. But it’s been losing ground to fast-growing Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Gmail, and now holds 31% of the market. To help win back its lost market share, Microsoft is giving each new Outlook account user 76B of free cloud storage, and plans to release additional new features in the coming months.
Google has updated its iPhone app to fix some pesky bugs and enhance the apps performance. Gmail users can now save picture or photo attachments straight to their iPhone or iPad camera reel, making it easier to browse, save and share attachments.
Hacked email accounts are becoming more common place and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has addressed these concerns with their new iOS6 privacy section. By using VIP Mailbox, you can designate selected contacts as “VIPs” and effectively block all other senders from access to your VIP Mailbox. Users can customize notification settings to alert you when a message has arrived from a VIP contact. This free download will work on the iPhone, iPad and iTouch, and is designed to make reading, writing and sending attachments easier. VIP Mailbox can be used right alongside Apple’s regular Mail app to increase privacy and help filter unwanted email.
For some time, Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) has been stuck holding steady with 32% of the global email market. To break out of its stagnation, Yahoo has released a new app designed to make finding and organizing your photo attachments easier. The app takes every photo you’ve ever sent or received since your Yahoo account was opened, and sorts them by size, date, sender and folder. Thumbnails are provided, and you can post your selected photos directly to Flickr immediately.
Email has all but replaced snail mail as the mode for business and individual communication. As the competition heats up, new upgrades and features will be released by Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple and Google as each fights to be number one.
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