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Gmail Vs. Outlook Vs. Yahoo: Which is the Best Free Email Service?

Gmail Vs. Outlook Vs. Yahoo: Which is the Best Free Email Service?

Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo! Mail are leaders in the email service providing industry. But which one do you choose? We help you end the conundrum by giving you the differences between these free email services.
Vijith Menon
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Yahoo Mail, Gmail, and Outlook can import their contacts into a downloadable CSV file.

Communication has always been the need of the hour. It has been made even easier with the use of email. Email lets us connect with our near and dear ones with a single touch. Now email has advanced to a level where it connects with social networking sites and allows chatting and face-to-face communication with the help of video chat. There are many email providers out there, but the top three spots are taken by Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Outlook.
Gmail launched its email service on April 1, 2004 and made it officially available to the public in 2007. Gmail dominated the web mail spectrum due to its minimalist interface and easy-to-use menu. Initially, it only allowed attachments of 5 MB, but now has increased its limit to 20 MB. Coupled with its sister products in the Play Store, Gmail makes it easy to upload videos on YouTube, chat via Google Chat and store data on Google Drive.

Outlook, formerly known as Hotmail, is an email service provider by Microsoft, launched in 1996. Outlook was redesigned to fit the interface of Windows. With Gmail in the lead, Outlook doesn't intend to let the competition fly by and provides many services like Calendar, OneDrive, People, and Skype. One of the unique features of Outlook is that it lets you create 10 aliases for the same account. In 2013, it added the extensions of IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) and Oauth.

Yahoo! Mail was launched in 1997. It integrated with Yahoo Messenger and allowed multiple tasks of chatting as well as replying to emails. It revamped its design in 2013 and allowed integration with additional services such as Flickr, Wordpress, and Windows Live Messenger, as well as social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Without further ado, let's give you a rundown of the features of the three email providers - Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook.
Gmail Outlook Yahoo! Mail
Interface Gmail distributes its messages in labels, instead of folders, namely, Primary, Social, and Promotions. You can mark any message as important using just one click. Accessing your Contacts is the biggest confusion; you have to click the drop-down menu named Gmail. Outlook has a very simple interface with the buttons above the Compose button. You can even sort your messages by file size. You can Delete, Move, Categorize, Sweep, all in a single click. The only problem is that Outlook has its own set of default labels, and you can't delete them or rename them as your own, unlike Gmail. Yahoo! Mail has a clean design with folders on the left marked clearly as Inbox, Spam, Trash. Just above these options, is the Compose button which replaces the email list with a blank email. If you're confused, just hover your mouse button and the tool tips will appear.
Advertisements Gmail allows ads identical to the mail you receive on the right-hand corner, but the feature can be disabled if you upgrade to premium version. Outlook is ad-free for $19.95 per year. Yahoo! Mail has a big banner ad at the bottom, as well as a smaller ad near the folders, but it can be ad-free for $44.99 per year.
Security Gmail has a two-step authentication system in place to prevent hacking. It also lets you manage security permissions, in the event that you use your email account on other websites, and sends you a text message if someone tries to change your password or tries to log in from a foreign location. Outlook has a feature known as Sweep, which tracks the oncoming graymail, online subscriptions and spam, and lets you delete it. It lets you mark the particular mail and deletes all future correspondences. It also provides you with an option of One-time password which you can use instead of typing your password at some stranger's computer. Yahoo! Mail has the best protection against phishing, and features a sign-in seal which is a short message or an image from your computer.
Data Storage Gmail allows data storage up to 15 GB and offers monthly storage plans of 100 GB for $2 per month to 300 TB for $300 per month. Outlook, on the other hand, allows data storage of only 5 GB, but lets you store extra on its cloud data storage, OneDrive. It offers plans of 100 GB and 200 GB storage for $2 per month and $4 per month respectively. Yahoo! Mail allows data storage of 1 TB.
Attachments Gmail lets you view documents due to GoogleDocs. Outlook lets you view the documents because of its integration with Office products. Yahoo! Mail only lets you view any document, provided you have the corresponding software installed.
Account Expiry Date Gmail accounts expire after 9 months of inactivity. Outlook also deletes your account after 9 months of inactivity. Yahoo! mail does the same after 8 months of inactivity.
These are the main features of these email providers. Gmail has 425 million users, Outlook has 360 million users, and Yahoo! Mail has 298 million users. You can make a choice according to your preference.