It’s about a year, almost to the day, that I started to do the vast bulk of my e-mailing using a web-based facility.
I felt at the time that it would probably be safer not to receive e-mail on my desktop computer because of the risks of catching a virus. It is all too easy to infect your computer if you open an infected attachment by mistake so it has to be safer not have your e-mail on your computer at all.
I haven’t had any virus problems in the last year even though I can’t say that I would’ve, if I hadn’t started using web-based mail. The thing that has really sold me on the concept is the fact that you can access your mail from any computer in the world with an Internet connection.
It has been very useful to me to be able to check on new mail wherever I am and, even, to check it using my web-enabled cellphone. Not that I do so too often, mind you, because the phone’s screen is small and I don’t seem to get a very good connection with it.
Google’s Gmail service had just begun when I started looking around and, because it offered more free storage space for messages than everyone else, I signed up as soon as I was able. You currently get 2,8Gb of storage space although this does increase gradually over time.
My e-mail currently stands at something over 300Mb but that includes the last 30 days worth of spam messages and others that I’ve deleted. Nearly 3Gb of free storage is a lot but, now, a new service from Yahoo which promises you unlimited storage.
There has been a Yahoo Mail facility for a long time but now it is available in a snazzy new guise which is still being beta-tested. I happened to have a Yahoo account and was able to sign up for the beta right away and, as far as I know, anyone can do so by getting opening a free account at www.yahoo.com.
Yahoo Mail has got a lot of the things I like including a traditional folder set-up in which you keep your stuff organised by creating folders and putting things in them. I prefer this way of doing things although I have kind of gotten used to Gmail’s practice of keeping everything in one big pile.
Where Yahoo Mail really scores in my opinion, is that it can sort your messages by who sent them to you, by subject line, and a number of other parameters. Gmail currently only lets you view the messages in the order they were received.
Yahoo Mail also lets you subscribe to RSS Feeds from websites or blogs and it has a handy notepad feature which allows you to write notes to yourself or store information that you might need to get at while out on the road.
The Yahoo interface is a little more cluttered than the Gmail one and the adverts that appear on your screen, in return for the free service, are a little more obtrusive. I think I would battle to choose between the two services at the moment if I were starting out with web mail.
But wait, a cunning thought occurs to me! Both services can fetch e-mail from elsewhere so why not open an account at both, use one for your daily e-mailing and get the other to periodically fetch copies of your mail from the first one.
That way you’ll have your all your messages in two places so that, should the unimaginable happen and Google or Yahoo goes away one night, your messages will still be at the other location.
With a Yahoo account, you also get access to more cool free stuff including the Flickr photo sharing site, free websites on Yahoo Geocities, and a blogging site called Yahoo 360º.
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