Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gmail Becomes 3rd Largest Email Provider

It's being reported that Gmail has surpassed AOL and moved into third place among email providers behind Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo. Yahoo, the email leader has 106 millions users, Hotmail has 47 million while Google has a small by comparison 37 million.

Google surpassed longtime industry powerhouse AOL who has 36.4 million users to make it the number 4 email service. This is another bad break from AOL who after years of offering pay email finally made their service free. This could have been a big deal 5 years ago when so many people kept AOL just because they found the AOL software so easy to use. Now no one cares about downloading AOL's program because it's a waste of time and all of that stuff can be done simply by going on the web.

While Yahoo and Hotmail do need to innovate their service, they are the incumbent and people are comfortable with them. If you have been using the same email for years and years, changing it would be similar to changing your phone number. Someone who you may not have talked to forever would lose their ability to get in contact with you if you left your old email address for a new Gmail address.

One of the best reasons for someone to sign up for email with another service is synergy with another service. While this is a gross generalization, a lot of email is all the same. I personally keep my Yahoo email because I need a Yahoo account when I play fantasy football with my friends every fall. Google is always going to have people because of their iGoogle page, documents, and RSS reader. Hotmail has synergy with Windows Messenger, a popular instant message service for a lot of international people, and Xbox Live subscribers.

While this is good news for Google, if Google ever wants to be the #1 email service out there they have to come out with something revolutionary to up their users anywhere close to Yahoo. Perhaps Google Wave could be that spark.


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