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The battle for smarter, better e-mail

Your e-mail is getting smarter and smarter and companies are falling over each other to make it better for you. Google is test-driving a host of experimental features on its popular email service Gmail, reports Ruchi Hajela.
By Ruchi Hajela | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 10, 2008 01:40 AM IST

Your e-mail is getting smarter and smarter and companies are falling over each other to make it better for you. What’s more, they are now consulting users, so they can make things cooler and easier. After all, mails are getting bulkier and more numerous, making it harder for users to organize them.

Google is test-driving a host of experimental features on its popular email service Gmail. Users can find the 13 new features under the ‘Gmail Labs’ tag in their Gmail account. For example, one based on mouse recognition allows users to move back and forth on Gmail pages and mails by moving the mouse left and right. With another one called Quick Links, users can store links they find interesting.

You can also play the good old game of Snake on your Gmail page and even go invisible without logging out of your account for a quick break. The new features in Gmail Labs are not imposed on users and one can choose to enable or disable them.

“Gmail Labs is a way for us to take lots of the ideas we wouldn’t normally pick and let you all (who use Gmail) decide whether they're good or not,” says Keith Coleman, product manager on Gmail’s offical blog at www.gmailblog.blogspot.com.

Yahoo and Hotmail remain hugely popular, but the game has changed a lot. Yahoo matched Gmail’s 2GB memory to start with and later introduced a browser-based chat messenger. It also has a look-and-feel resembling Microsoft’s popular Outlook software.

Not to be left behind,

last year, Microsoft revamped its Hotmail service with features like personalised email IDs and increased storage.

India is a keen market, with 3.2 crore email users – and growing.

Recently, Gmail had added new features such as emoticons (symbols that express emotions). In the new wave, a welcome addition could be Google allowing Gmail users to create customised folders that would make the task of segregating emails easier. So far, Gmail has not allowed such folders.

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