I was staggered to read on TechCrunch that Yahoo! Mail has 250 million users while the much younger and rapidly growing Google Mail (beta) service currently has a paltry 51 million users in comparison.

I wonder what proportion of these users, in these impressive headline (marketing) numbers, actively use the respective services on a daily basis.

However, I was not surprised at Yahoo’s offer of ‘unlimited’ email storage which gets a cheap headline and was pretty inevitable. A tiny minority will gleefully claim they really need infinite storage and think of inventive ways to upload the entire contents of their PC to a server. Yahoo! will then ban them for uploading copyrighted material.

While I have a longstanding but rarely used Yahoo! Mail account (which I was scanning tonight funnily enough searching for my Flickr credentials), this announcement won’t be tempting me back to Yahoo! just yet. I await with interest Google’s response though.

I think the Yahoo! Mail screen is incredibly cluttered and the adverts on the right hand side are incredibly intrusive and consume valuable screen estate. As you scroll through Yahoo! emails, the banner ads actually change which is slow and very distracting !

I know this type of thing is very subjective and, in many cases, ones preference simply reflects what you are used to and familiar with but I honestly don’t know how Doug tolerates it. Also, Google’s spam filter is far more effective which is important.

Also, Yahoo! have a irritating tendency to overuse the exclamation mark as part of the corporate branding. Look at any personalised Yahoo! page and shriek as you count the shrieks. I suspect you will be unpleasantly surprised.

Unfortunately, I appear to have mislaid (or Yahoo have inactivated) my Yahoo! credentials for my world famous Flickr stream so let’s try some inline thumbnails. Apologies for the quality.

Yahoo! Adware! Mail!

Note the MASSIVE banner ad on RHS (no I didn’t photoshop the red border) and the more subtle ads bottom left.

I continue to use my ISP email account for personal stuff but am starting a gradual migration to Gmail which started around a year ago. Apart from spam, I hardly ever delete a Google email. Consequently, I am barely scratching the surface of my 3GB allocation (35 MB - 1% - of the allocated 2833 MB).

I also like the security of having messages and email address stored on a server (and not my PC).

The ads on Google Mail seem much less noticeable and intrusive to me (yeah I know I’m a Google whore). I can honestly say that I barely notice them. I think this is because of the text (not banner) ads coupled with the white background although I am not sure what advertising men in new media glasses would make of this.

Google Mail