Googles Gmail Keeps the Pressure on Microsoft

The search kingpin adds new features to its Gmail service that directly target Microsoft Hotmail and Outlook users.

In the continuing tit-for-tat battle between Google and Microsoft over free e-mail, Google has again upped the ante.

In an announcement posted to its Gmail beta Web site last week, Google informed testers it had added three new, requested features to Gmail.

"You asked. We said they were coming. And now, theyre here," the Google notice said.

The three features are:

  • Import contacts: Gmail now allows users to import their e-mail name lists from Yahoo Mail, Outlook, Hotmail and other competing e-mail services to Gmail "in just a few clicks."
  • Signature options: Gmail allows users to automatically add a customized signature to the end of all outgoing messages.
  • "Safari" browser support: Gmail is providing compatibility for Mac OS X "Safari" users running versions 1.2.1 and higher.

Via its beta-testers site, Google has told testers it is working to add other requested features, too. Among those the company is working on are a plain HTML version of Gmail, as Google is hoping—but not promising—to add the ability to send messages with HTML formatting, and POP3 client access.

When asked whether Google had more features targeted specifically at winning accounts from Microsoft, a corporate spokesman declined to comment, citing the fact that the company is in a quiet period. Google recently announced its plans to go public.

The spokesman also declined to provide any kind of timetable as to when Google might make available the final version of Gmail.

Google last week moved to acquire digital-photo-management company Picasa Inc. Google also recently rolled out a new feature called Browse By Name for faster searching from Microsofts Internet Explorer browser.


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