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Gmail cooler than Hotmail ?

During one candidate review and another (:)), I thought about writing a post about e-mail messaging offering. And this is something I’m thinking about for several days.

I wanted to compare the 2 services from a higher perspective (but you can find a detailed one in the link provided below). I selected Hotmail and Gmail as they are the most used e-mail services abroad (so please bear with me Yahoo and AIM users :)).

So the question on my mind was: why users tend to adopt a Gmail account?

There are a number of features we need to keep in mind.

Free space: Gmail now offers around 8 GB available space while Hotmail offered 5 GB, than 25 GB and now it’s almost unlimited (it detects if you need more space, and then it is automatically increased).

Filtering: they are both doing a great job on filtering messages

Spam: both are good in terms of junk emails. Someone would prefer one service or another but the Junk filters are both pretty good

Forwarding: with Hotmail you can send messages from different accounts (“on behalf of”) like Gmail, AOL Mail and Yahoo! Mail. Same as Gmail.

Advertisement: they both have it (on the web)

Security: they both use https encryption

Privacy: well, Google automatically scans e-mails to add context-sensitive advertisements to them. It seems your e-mails not read by a human but a bot will scan them to send ad-hoc advertisements. Also, senders’ emails are scanned too so (and this is one thing that really concerns me), if you have sensitive data to send to your customers, are you sure these e-mails are not really read by someone? What if you work for a Company which is a Google’s Competitor on a particular are? Hotmail uses Country-based advertisement so Microsoft does not need to scan your email messages. And a question: does Gmail “owns” the content you have in your Gmail account? That’s a question for you guys !

Search: Gmail does probably a better job in searching through your folders and emails as it uses the Google search engine (of course if you don’t access your emails through a client).

Web interface: Generally speaking, the Gmail web interface is thin and fast. Hotmail contains more advertisements.

Mobility: both services are accessible via a mobile phone easily. Of course if you have a Windows Phone 7, Hotmail works best. Same as you have an Android phone and a Gmail account (you have a dedicated application for that).

Other services: of course both of them try to drive their own additional services. Calendars, Contacts, SkyDrive, Windows Live Messenger, Office Web Apps, Google Buzz, Google Docs….you name it !)

Attachments: both are good now in terms of sending heavy files

There are probably other features I’m missing here but that’s ok to have an overview.

So, in the end, who wins? I think nobody wins and both are winners. So how come Gmail is perceived as cooler than Hotmail? Hence the reason why you tend to adopt one service for another. Does it depend to your needs? I don’t think so. Does it depend on space or spam filtering or mobility access? Not at all, I’d say.

The reason, IMHO, is brand awareness. Again, Google does a better job in branding its own services. Some of them are better than Microsoft’s ones, some of them are not. It’s the way in which it positions itself in the market. As someone said on Twitter: “#Microsoft writes software to sell software, #Apple writes software to sell hardware, #Google writes software to sell users”. This is no secret and an absolutely true statement: it corroborates what I’m saying here.

+ the power of the Long Tail. If you link branding (remember, Google is an Internet Company) with the Power of Mouth, than your chances of success are enormously higher. People talking about this particular feature or service to other people, online and offline, is the secret of success.

So, in the end, is Gmail cooler than Hotmail ? It seems so. And if you think about it, it’s in your head already. You don’t have to scroll down all the functionalities to see which service is best. It seems it’s already a fact (but it’s not, if you drill down into details). And this has been “caused”, believe it or not, by the Long Tail,  the Power of Mouth, together with a good Branding Awareness.

So, to go Off Topic for a while and apply this to other stuff: you can brand anything. I believe a lot of people in the IT Industry think marketing or digital marketing or whatever you wanna call it is just fluffy/it’s not important. But they’re wrong. If you do it wisely and effectively, it’s the most powerful thing you can do.

Even for yourself (go have a look to this book and read it if you’re interested in this…)

Link to: How Does the New Hotmail Stack Up to Gmail?

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  1. ZaaM IT
    30/11/1999 at 01:00

    And how about Gmail’s early days and the whole “beta” thing? Microsoft makes you sign up for a Hotmail account because you NEED one (think about Live ID / single sign on etc..) while Google at that time made you believe that you WANTED one :)

    • Alessandro Teglia
      30/11/1999 at 01:00

      EXACTLY, that’s a very good point !

  2. 30/11/1999 at 01:00

    I use both of the services but both through Outlook. I thinkg that Hotmail runs a bit faster with the connector than Gmail does. In terms of the email service I think they are equaly good and it’s hard to compare. But what I like about Hotmail more is the whole “live experience” with SkyDrive, Mesh, sunchronization – it’s just AWESOME!

    • Alessandro Teglia
      30/11/1999 at 01:00

      I totally agree with you: the LIve experience is awesome !!

  3. 30/11/1999 at 01:00

    I agree with what you are saying about the Power of the Mouth. Another thing I’d like to pint is:
    “Web interface: Generally speaking, the Gmail web interface is thin and fast. Hotmail contains more advertisements”

    I think this is another important reason why GMail is better. I believe most people browse it through the Web. GMail interface is far more intuitive and faster IMHO and it used to be since its first release. The experience is better. Note the number of ads too.

    Emil

    • Alessandro Teglia
      30/11/1999 at 01:00

      Yes, Emil, you’re right. But I don’t understand why people keep on accessing email through the web. That is sooo web 1.0 to me :)

  4. 21/01/2011 at 14:11

    I think the one feature that separates the two providers is Gmail does not have the folder concept for mail but the Labels which to me is better. It allows to tag messages with multiple labels.

    Another cool feature is the ability to create addins for the web client. Oh and there is a email client for BlackBerry devices also.

    • 22/01/2011 at 18:58

      thx for your comment. So it’s basically about accessing the email via web. and you mentioned good adding points but, again, they were not the ones who made people picked gmail instead of hotmail…!

  5. 28/01/2011 at 08:35

    I believe that this is the subject for holy wars. Both services provide similar functionality, therefore choice is really subjective.

    p.s. I choose Hotmail as a part of set of Live services. I can’t tell that Google is not too good as Hotmail, but certain things make the sense :)

  6. seo
    28/01/2011 at 17:04

    Very nice & interesting information.

  1. 30/11/1999 at 01:00
  2. 21/01/2011 at 21:02

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