Yahoo Doesn’t Seem Worried About Gmail
Gmail is growing rapidly. Yahoo has long dominated the race against Microsoft’s Hotmail and Google’s Gmail, but Gmail is on pace to overthrow the other two. I got in touch with Yahoo Mail’s VP John Kremer to try and find out some expectations Yahoo has for Yahoo Mail.
I asked how much growth Yahoo expected out of Yahoo Mail over the next couple years. Kremer gave a somewhat vague answer, "As we execute on our vision of opening up Yahoo! Mail and creating a Smarter Inbox, we absolutely expect to continue to grow and attract millions of new users every year."
He cites comScore numbers showing that Yahoo Mail is the most popular provider in the US and added more users last year than any other webmail service. Thomas Claburn with InformationWeek has also been studying comScore’s numbers. He notes that Gmail is on pace to surpass Microsoft’s Hotmail by the end of the year. But he also says, "Yahoo, with 91.9 million unique monthly visitors in December 2008 and about 11% growth last year, has reason to worry, too. If Gmail continues growing as it has been, it could become the leading free e-mail provider by the end of 2011 or thereabout."
As Google has been rapidly introducing new features for Gmail, I asked Kremer if Yahoo was increasing the frequency of introducing its own new features.
"We’ve been the most popular Webmail service in the US and a worldwide leader for years, and we will continue to lead from the front of the pack – not by looking in the rearview mirror," says Kremer. "We’re always exploring ways to improve Webmail, and provide deeper engagement through a more social, relevant and useful Yahoo! Mail experience. In the coming months, we will infuse Yahoo! Mail with even more open and social technology as we execute on our vision of creating a Smarter Inbox.
I asked Kremer what makes Yahoo Mail the most attractive service in the email space. He gave the reasons of security, unlimited storage, and ongoing innovation. Is that enough to keep Yahoo at the top? If Yahoo is worried about Google catching it in the email business, they’re not letting on that they are.