Google: Free Web Mail? Hooray! (Google has become a Portal)

CNN reports this am the Google announced yesterday a new Web mail service.

I have taught Yahoo Mail for years at my library and on other training/consulting jobs. I’m interested to see how Google stacks up. I can already tell, I may switch. Why? The Google name – be all end all for searching for most folks (I know…I know…) carries a lot of good connotations for me.

“But analysts said that Google — whose technology is behind nearly four out of every five Web searches — could shake up the free e-mail market.”

The public uses Google big time. In this day of one stop shopping (one of my favorite terms for Web portals), folks may get a big kick out of having their e-mail at the search site. OH MY! The light just shines through — Google has become a portal! Search, directory, discussions, catalogs, proiducts, local info and now MAIL… Was this discussed in a Google session I didn’t make it to at CIL?

“Yahoo dominates the niche, with 52.6 million unique users per month in the United States, according to a February survey by online research firm comScore Media Metrix. Hotmail is next, with 45.4 million users. AOL has 40.2 million paying users.

To finance the service, Google will display advertising links tied to the topics discussed within the e-mails. For instance, an e-mail inquiring about an upcoming concert might include an ad from a ticket agency.”

Sounds good – except my only concern is the perception that e-mail messages are read by someone to determine what ads get placed in what messages.

Trainers: be aware… and be ready to fold this new option into your e-mail classes.

UPDATE: I picked up on some of the commentary about GMail and the whole thing about the Google bots reading mail to determine what ad goes where — especially Karen’s post at FRL and I agree — we have a ways to go with this sort of system. And Karen, I’m all for a big ole letstalkcommonsenseinthedigitalenvironmentfest… let me know where the gathering is and I’m there with the proverbial bells on. I love the idea of Google offering mail…just not this way!