Thursday, April 15, 2004 A First Look At Google's Gmail A First Look At Google's Gmail "Google insists quite clearly in its privacy policy that "No human reads your mail to target ads or other information without your consent." The process by which it pushes ads at its users is fully automated. Fears about privacy problems inherent with the Gmail service are, in our opinion, overblown.
As yet, many other basic features, like access to external email accounts via POP3 protocol, and the ability to change the "reply-to address" that appears in mail you send, are missing from Gmail. But it's still early in its existence. When the service gets to general release, we won't be surprised to see a mass migration from Hotmail, Microsoft's (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people ) free Web-based email service, which has in recent months gone from being average to utterly abysmal in terms of user experience.
Users of Yahoo!'s (nasdaq: YHOO - news - people ) much better and more powerful Web mail service may start to migrate as well, if only to get around the fees that Yahoo! charges for extra storage. As it stands right now Gmail's main advantage is its storage limit and searching ability. For many users, that may be enough."
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