METRO PLUS

Google goes giga

Once in a while a product sets new standards forcing others to improve and compete.`Google', the popular Internet search engine, has done just that by unleashing a free web based e-mail service with radical features and a mammoth one giga-byte storage capacity, and this development has not escaped the attention of the computer-savvy youth of Vizag. The bar having been raised in terms of e-mail space, other companies have been quick to catch up to retain their customer base.

Hotmail now makes available 250Mb instead of the measly 10Mb, Yahoo has expanded its inbox capacity to 100 Mb for its broadband users and Rediff has gone up to 1 Gb. That's enough space for a person to use up in a single lifetime. Spam no longer threatens to jam your inbox and users can just ignore it. There is enough room for all kinds of mail and instances of mail accounts getting blocked due to insufficient storage space is now a thing of the past. Personal mails, which users would reluctantly delete earlier, are now being stocked up. The surplus space is a boon for the student community, especially for IT aspirants. Says G.S.N. Raju, Professor of Electronics and Communication Engineering in Andhra University, "Students, pursuing on-line courses and others who subscribe for on-line journals and magazines, receive mails regularly, and storage does not seem to be a matter of concern any more." Prof. Raju, who is also the chairman of the city branch of the Institution of Electronics and Communication Engineers (IETE), observes that the prices of IT products tend to fall year after year while the services are getting better.

"This means that more and more people will get computer-savvy and many more will use e-mail for information exchange that could provide a major boost to the IT industry," he says. Not surprised at the offering of a 1Gb mailbox, he feels that it is inevitable. Apart from increased storage capacity, many e-mail service providers now allow 10Mb attachments, which have the student community pretty upbeat.

Says Ch. Somanjenayulu, an engineering student, "This feature is of great help to engineering and post-graduate students who take up outstation projects during their final year. In case of a coding error, the student can now send the code as an attachment to the external project guide and seek his assistance." As for the mouse potatoes, who use their personal computers more for amusement than anything else, they are pleased as well. Says Ujjwal Varma, a degree student: "Exchanging songs, games, pictures, screensavers, software and other stuff with friends has become easy. Earlier bigger files had to be clipped into smaller fragments and sent separately while hoping that the recipient's mailbox had enough space to accommodate the files." Recently Ujjwal received as e-mail, clips of a home video, shot by his brother who lives in the US.

In a bid to outdo each other companies like Yahoo and Hotmail are now including several tools like spell check, grammar check, e-mail search facility, Spam filter and more to the mail service. Users already have their hands full with a 1Gb inbox at their disposal and they can expect more goodies to come their way. Looks like e-mailing is set to take on a whole new meaning in the near future.

SHAZEEL M. BASHA

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