Dear Microsoft, there’s no doubt that Outlook.com (previously Windows Live Hotmail, Microsoft Hotmail) is cooler than Gmail or Yahoo! Mail. But you know what? Gmail (or Google Mail) is way ahead of any other e-mail service when it comes to productivity. I’m using Gmail ever since they launched as an invite-only beta release and it’s Gmail and not Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail that redefined the way I use an e-mail service.
That said, as a Microsoft fanatic I finally migrated to Outlook.com from Gmail last year even though I was aware that I’m not going to get all the features I enjoy from Google Mail. But that migration was part of my break-free from Google as I was too obsessed with Google products.
So today, I would like to compare Outlook.com vs. Gmail vs. Yahoo! Mail to revisit the features I enjoyed at Gmail that “Hotmail…”, err, “Outlook” doesn’t support. You’ve compared Outlook.com with Gmail and Yahoo! Mail with a bias so I would like to show you an unbiased comparison of the top 3 e-mail services out there.
Hotmail Outlook.com vs. Yahoo! Mail: A Quick Comparison
|Free Storage Space||10 GB (and counting)||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Attachment Limit||25 MB (10 GB via Google Drive)||25 MB (10 GB via SkyDrive)||25 MB|
|Mail Access Features||Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), IMAP, POP||Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), POP||IMAP, POP|
|Automatic E-mail Forwarding||Yes||Yes||Available for Yahoo! Mail Plus users only|
|Send Mail From Your Other Address||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Sub-addressing (?)||Yes (‘+’ symbol)||Yes (‘+’ symbol)||Available for Yahoo! Mail Plus users only|
|Social||No||Yes, connect your account to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn||No|
|Create E-mail Aliases||No||Yes||Available for Yahoo! Mail Plus users only|
|Account Expiration||after 9 months of inactivity||after 9 months of inactivity||after 6+2 months of inactivity|
|Ads||Yes, annoying & spammy text ads||Yes, not-so annoying tile ads||Yes, ugly banner ads|
|Cost||Free (with an option to buy extra storage)||Free (ad-free Hotmail costs $19.95 a year)||Free (Plus costs $19.99 a year)|
Outlook.com: Pros and Cons
Why I Love Outlook.com?
1. Outlook.com is clean and fresh with an intuitive design. There are no ads in my account (I exactly don’t know why). But anyways Outlook.com’s tile ads are not as annoying as Gmail’s spammy text ads.
2. You can Delete, Move, Categorize, Mark as read/unread, Sweep, Junk a message in one-click using Instant Actions.
3. You can sign in to your account using a one-time password (via SMS) so that you don’t have to enter your password if you’re using a shared PC.
4. You can recover deleted messages in Outlook.com.
5. You can create an alias (can be renamed or deleted) and it can be used as additional e-mail address that’s linked to your primary e-mail account.
6. You can clean your inbox by deleting and blocking all future messages from a sender in 3 clicks by using the “Sweep” feature of Outlook.com.
7. You can sort your messages by file size.
8. I love Outlook.com’s “Reading pane“. You can easily turn it off, or change the view to horizontal or vertical in a click.
9. The “New Message” and “Reply” space is huge with no annoying sidebar with ads.
10. The “Right-click” menu on Outlook.com is cool. Of course, Gmail supports right-click with “Message Sneak Peek” labs feature and it’s nice but Outlook is awesome.
11. You can connect your Outlook.com to your Facebook account and can chat with your Facebook friends.
12. Your Outlook.com inbox is tightly integrated with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Why I Hate Outlook.com?
1. It will take ages to move e-mails from your old e-mail client to Outlook.com as they limit the number of messages to 60 at a time. I’ve over 100,000 e-mail messages in my Gmail and that’s the reason why I’m using Gmail’s e-mail forwarding instead of the POP-in feature in Outlook.com.
2. There’s no official Outlook.com app for iOS but you can access Outlook.com on your Windows Phone, iOS, and Android devices.
3. I’m a fan of labels ever since I started using Gmail. Outlook.com supports folders and labels (known as categories) but there’s no option to delete the default labels.
4. Outlook.com supports “Rules for sorting new messages” but it’s not as flexible as Gmail and moreover you can’t create a filter with multiple parameters. You have to create a separate filter for each rule.
5. One of the most appreciated features of Outlook.com is its automatic categorization of mails. Well, it may be useful but I won’t call it perfect as Outlook’s algorithm is not clever enough.
6. I hate categories in Outlook.com. In Outlook.com, it’s possible to move messages from Sent folder to say Inbox or any another folder. It’s really absurd as I expect my sent messages to stay in that folder even though I accidentally moved them to another folder. In Gmail, you can move a message from “Sent Mail” to “Inbox” but it continues to appear in “Sent Mail” as Gmail uses labels and not folders.
Gmail: Pros and Cons
Why I Love Gmail?
1. Gmail’s killer feature is its powerful search. The search combined with labels and filters is just amazing.
2. Never delete a message ever again as you have tons of storage! I don’t delete any of my messages instead I “Archive” them so that Inbox remains clean. Of course, both Outlook.com and Yahoo! Mail have unlimited storage but it’s Gmail which started the storage war with free storage that’s 250 times bigger than Hotmail.
3. You can send attachments up to 10 GB as Gmail is tightly integrated with Google Drive.
4. You can star any message in one-click. Outlook.com lets you flag (equivalent to Gmail’s starring feature) only incoming mails and not the sent mails.
5. You can also use Gmail to send messages from your other e-mail addresses using Gmail’s “Send mail as” feature. You can hide your Gmail address by sending the mails through your other account’s SMTP server settings.
6. Gmail’s filters are so powerful and flexible that you can define the filters the way you want. You can create a filter with multiple parameters. For example, I can create a filter to “Star” messages that are coming from email@example.com and then apply a Label and mark automatically as important and send an automatic reply or forward to another e-mail address. They’re all possible using just one filter.
7. Like filters, another feature that’s worth mention is its Labels. Instead of using folders Gmail uses Labels. In Gmail virtually there’s only one folder and everything else is labels. You can add as much labels as you want to a message and you can search messages using labels apart from using other criteria.
8. Gmail Chat is so addictive and so powerful that it supports Instant Messages, Group Chats, Video Chats, Group Video Chats (Hangouts), Phone Call, etc. That’s not all! All your conversation history is archived online and is searchable. Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail later followed this feature and are now saving all chat histories on the cloud instead of saving on your local PC.
9. With Gmail Labs (experimental new features in Gmail) you can boost your e-mail productivity. And my favorite Labs are “Undo Send” (you get up to 30 seconds to stop messages from being sent), “Canned Responses” (create e-mail templates), “Inserting images” (it’s a killer feature that allows you to paste images directly into the message body), “Quote selected text” (quote only a part of the message instead of including the whole conversation when you reply) “Message Sneak Peek” (enables right-clicking on a messages).
10. Now when it comes to security Gmail is probably the best among the trio. With 2-step account verification Gmail is almost hacker proof.
11. With Gmail you can now track your recent login sessions (Access Type, IP Address, Data, Time) and can also sign out remotely. Click on the “Details” link present at the bottom right corner of your Gmail inbox.
12. Google offers a simple task manager called Google Tasks. Though I no longer use Google Tasks it’s really a cool product that’s integrated with Gmail.
13. Gmail allows you to create custom e-mail signature for each account that you have added.
14. Gmail’s app for mobile devices is just awesome with push notifications.
Why I Hate Gmail?
1. Gmail is not social and is integrated only to Google+ that nobody uses. But you can use the third-party add-on called Rapportive to connect your Gmail account to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and more.
2. Gmail is heavy with too many unwanted features.
3. Gmail’s reading pane, known as Preview Pane, is a mess with ads, horizontal scroll bar, etc.
4. Gmail’s sidebar is ugly with distracting and spammy looking ads.
5. Replying to an e-mail message is awful as the reply window is very narrow with annoying ads.
6. You can’t recover a deleted message.
7. Gmail has got a simple interface but it’s really boring.
Yahoo! Mail: Pros and Cons
Why I Love Yahoo! Mail?
Oh wait, I don’t love Yahoo! Mail. I use my @yahoo.com only to receive spams or to sign up on a website that appears to be spammy. But still, if there is one feature that I like about Yahoo! Mail, it’s the Disposable Addresses (but available for Yahoo! Mail Plus users only). It’s different from “Plus addressing” of Gmail or Outlook.com. Instead of adding a “+tag” after our username Yahoo! allows us to create another base name (call it an alias) and then we can add up to 500 unique tags separated by a “hyphen“. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com in case of Outlook.com or Gmail.
Why I Hate Yahoo! Mail?
Well, I think I can write another blog post on that topic as I hate almost everything about Yahoo! Mail except for its unlimited storage.