GMail vs. Hotmail

I have been using GMail for years now. I love the amount of storage. After a brief transition period I enjoyed the simple web-based experience. GMail also does a pretty seamless job interacting with my primary personal email address which I access via POP3. In short I am happy with GMail for personal email use. So why try Hotmail?I use a Windows Mobile smart phone. I love it. It helps me get work done, it helps me get work done away from the office, and it allows me to leave my laptops at home. Great device. For email it supports Active Sync (MS Exchange), POP, and IMAP. Great! But here is the where the trouble starts. GMail really doesn’t support access via devices. Oh sure, their pages will tell you about POP access (busted since you really don’t want every download to cause the item to be archived. Nor do you want read items not to be archived. I pointed this out to Google by the way, they apparently are way smarter than mere mortals though and know better). Their pages will also tell you about ““. This too is busted since you get 30 days of email on your device and no reconciliation between what you have read on the device and on the web (this is closer, but not quite there. Why doesn’t the “recent” trick archive the messages after 30 days?). Why won’t GMail do something as simple as IMAP? They’ve even gone to the trouble to write a really terrible Java-based client (which incidentally doesn’t appear to run on a Blackjack). Why no IMAP? Google, as usual with criticism or suggestion, is silent.So recently I learned that Hotmail has added up to 5 GB of storage. Nice, 2+ more than Google. Not particularly relevant since I never hit 2 GB, but nice anyway. But here is the kicker… Hotmail has a dedicated synch engine for the smart phone. Very, very nice. So I am embarking on a 4 day tour of Hotmail to see if I can switch over. Some early thoughts:

  1. Okay, the UI is intrusive. I know some people (hi Tom) prefer Hotmail’s UI but I think GMail’s stripped-down UI is closer to what you want for a web browser. Hotmail is clearly designed for Outlook users (which of course I am, but that is at work)
  2. Banner ad, hate it. Really hate it. And when it’s in motion it’s really annoying. I will never, ever, ever click on a banner ad simply out of principal. Maybe time to find a greasemonkey script for this.
  3. Hotmail has fewer keyboard shortcuts.

On the positive side:

  1. Did I mention the synch engine? Love the synch engine. Very seamless.

Update: +1 for Google. When you forward email from another address, e.g. Google does the right thing and just seamlessly uses it assuming you have it configured for that address. Hotmail does not. It does the worst of all possible things; it is inconsistent. In the preview pane (annoyingly called the Reading Pane, an affectation from Outlook) it shows “ on behalf of“. Well that is silly, it is not on behalf of. It would be on behalf of if I hadn’t already told Hotmail that this was me. I set that as the default and confirmed that in face was me. Compounding what could otherwise conceivably e some sort of security device they show the second address in the from column in the view. So let’s see… if in fact you need the “on behalf of” nonsense then why not show it that way everywhere? Gr.Update 2: +1 for Gmail on performance. Yes, both services have downtime. But wow… in less than one week now I have had several occasions when Hotmail would not load the inbox. This morning was the worst, Hotmail refused to load, refreshed with a message saying it couldn’t load, then swapped into “classic” mode.