For the millions of users out there who prefer to have free mail as opposed to buying an expensive program like Microsoft Outlook and paying a monthly fee to a service provider, they will be happy to know there are plenty of Web companies available to meet the need. Easy to use Web interfaces, plenty of online storage space, addresses books and more are just a few of the features these services offer. For snapshots of some of the more popular ones out there, read on.
Yahoo! Mail (mail.yahoo.com)
Yahoo! Mail, one of the longest running free Web email services, is part of the larger Yahoo! Network of Web sites. Users who sign up for a Yahoo! ID have the option to link a free Yahoo! Mail account to this ID. As part of the features available in the new version Yahoo! Is running, Yahoo! Mail users get 1GB of online storage space, an integrated RSS reader, a contacts manager, drag-and-drop support of messages into specific folders (like you can do in an email application), tabbed messages, keyboard shortcuts and mail searching by keyword, name or email address.
Yahoo! Mail Screenshot
Gmail is the Web mail brainchild of leading search engine Google. Until recently this service was in invitation only beta, but now is free to all to try. Like Yahoo! (and the other services in this guide) you’ll need a Google Account ID to create a Gmail address. Once you’ve secured said address, you’ll be able to enjoy features like 2.8GB of free storage, the ability to check email from other email accounts, integrated instant messaging, Gmail through your mobile phone, virus scanning, a contact manager and integrated searching as only Google can do it.
Windows Live Mail/MSN Hotmail (mail.live.com)
Microsoft is going through a transition with their Web based email offering at the time of this guide being written. Having long owned Hotmail, a popular online email service, they are now transitioning users to the new email portion of their Windows Live online offerings. Interesting features of the Windows Live Mail service include 2GB of online storage, contact importing from Outlook, right click support for deleting and forwarding, drag and drop support and color coding to rate the security of individual messages.
Windows Live Screenshot
AIM Mail (webmail.aol.com)
AIM Mail has been part of AOL’s offerings for several years now. This Web based mail service integrates with the AIM ID one has through the very popular AOL Instant Messenger. Features include 2GB of online storage, spam protection, virus protection, spell checking, the ability to copy your address books and emails from another account, email searching and integration with AOL’s online photos site.
AIM Mail Screenshot
Lycos Mail (mail.lycos.com)
Lycos, like AOL and Yahoo!, has been around for a long time, at least as far as Internet years. Their free Web mail offering, known as Lycos Mail, is the most generous of the services listed here for online storage by coming in at 3GB. Beyond this, other features include spam filtering, virus checking, unlimited email attachment file sizes, auto replying and import support for address books from desktop email programs like Outlook.
Lycos Mail Screenshot