Back in the days when the internet was the wild wild west and companies such as Microsoft, Netscape, Yahoo and AOL controlled the vast majority of the web services, things were very different and of course competition was high, yet highly limited in many aspects. The golden days of the web saw their collapse in the dot com bubble and subsequently companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Google have risen from the ashes of that disaster.
Things are a lot different now since then and with the changing tides, Yahoo has seen its dominance wiped away by companies such as Google, not only in search but in email and services as well. Today we will compare two of these companies most used products, their free online email service. Which offers the better free services and which values your privacy and security better than the other? Read on to find out.
The actual amount of monthly users for YMail and Gmail has been debated thanks to the different measures that companies arrive at their calculations. For instance, according to Google, Gmail has about half a billion monthly users. comSource, one of the most trusted web analytics company claims that number is false, listing Gmail at just about 300 million monthly users. Google refuses to explain how they arrive at their numbers and there is a great possibility that this number could include Android and YouTube accounts which Google requires a Gmail account for signing up for YouTube as well as setting up an Android device.
For the sake of this article and an unbiased report, we will go with comSource which lists YMail at 298 million and Gmail at 289 million. These statistics were true as of May 2012.
As a frequent user of both YMail and Gmail, I have my likes and dislikes with both mail clients. Overall both email clients are about the same in terms of layout. You have your main viewing pain on the right with your navigation pain on the left and a menu bar above to manage things such as searching, forwarding, marking mail as spam, replying and the likes.
Google allows you to change the theme of your inbox and while we are big fans of this feature (we personally use it) compared to the clean layout of YMail it seems a bit cluttered. Take for instance Google’s sidebars which constantly serve up ads as well as ads being severed above your mail messages. Yahoo does the same but theirs appear a lot less obtrusive in certain respects. But even with these minor issues we do prefer the overall layout of Gmail over YMail. And in case you were wondering, YMail does allow you to change the look of your inbox.
Ever since email became popular, spam has been one of the biggest nuisances to email users. Thankfully spam is not as prevalent in our inboxes as they used to thanks to advanced spam filtering by email companies. So which company does the better job of tracking down and eliminating spam from your inbox? If you ask random people the consensus will vary but the consistent opinion has been Google does the better job.
For us that proved to be true, but then again we use Gmail more than YMail so it may be a little biased. Talking to heavy YMail users, we noticed that the more people use their email accounts, the more spam they get, obviously. For instance, we have three email addresses, one which is for personal and social network, one for business and financial and the other for regular mail. By using this three mail setup system we found our spam drop considerably in our personal and business accounts but build up in our general account.
So once again the results are skewed, but we lean to Google on this matter as they have consistently provided better spam detection with very few false positives.
I’m not sure about you, but for me privacy is my biggest concern while doing anything online. No I’m not a privacy freak as I do have a Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, a dozen email accounts and a couple other online social media accounts. However, I am very cautious about what I put online and so privacy is a huge issue.
Unfortunately, these days it seems that the biggest treat to our online privacy isn’t coming from some hacker working from his mom’s basement or from a Chinese or Nigerian company trying to scam you of millions. It is from governments, mainly the United States, China, Russia, Iran and other countries who are increasingly putting more pressure on internet companies to turn over data.
Over the past couple of months I have grown very weary of email companies as very few companies seem to require any type of search warrant to turn over your data to the authorities. Google is notorious for this especially seeing they have close allies in Washington DC and are big funders of certain political candidates.
Yahoo is no less transparent on many issues and it is a known fact that both Yahoo and Google scan your messages for keywords in hopes of delivering you targeted ads. Who do I trust more or who has been proven to be better? Well both companies are very uncooperative with foreign companies and governments when it comes to divulging user information however that is not so true for the United States. In the end I leave this as a draw. Your data seems to be no less secure on either company’s servers. But with Google having so many services that millions of individuals use daily, they seem to be the one at a greater risk for a privacy breach than Yahoo. That said, both companies use SSL to secure connections to and from their mail servers.
Both companies have a limit of 25MB for email attachments. Yahoo offers unlimited storage while Gmail offers 10GB and growing daily. In terms of space, it is very unlikely that any person will max out their storage of 10GB so on paper Yahoo is better but in the real world, all that storage is rarely used.
Google has a great conversation style thread view which I find extremely useful when keeping up with email correspondences. YMail doesn’t really offer such a great feature though I do like the organization of Yahoo’s folders a lot better than Gmail as Gmail folders can be quite confusing at first.
Some like Yahoo’s inbox search over that of Google and for the sake of this article I utilized it more than I normally do. I personally didn’t notice much difference in this respect.
Another feature I like with Gmail is the way it marks messages. While you can manually mark email messages as important and thus providing an easier way to keep track of them, Gmail automatically marks mail it believes is important to you. So far I have yet to have a false positive.
Many of the other features remain the same which to some extent make both these email services and clients so very similar.
Looking at this from an unbiased perspective, both Gmail and YMail are great and they have many strong points. There isn’t a single area where one trumps the other though we would like to point out that Google’s many other services make Gmail more appealing to us than YMail.