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Friday, June 24, 2005

Web-Based Email -- AIM Mail

AIM Mail, Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and even Comcast.net Mail -- some are better for business, some for consumers, and all are quite useful.

For many of us, web-based e-mail services are a useful adjunct to our home inbox, allowing us to check e-mail while traveling and to privately communicate outside of corporate messaging. But a review of the latest web mail services shows that you can now consider foregoing desktop programs without compromising your communications flow.

America Online's AIM beta has leapfrogged Hotmail and Yahoo!Mail by providing the most robust set of privacy and mailbox management features. Google's Gmail redefines web e-mail by focusing more on search and archiving instead of managing mail through folders. ISP Comcast's web e-mail service is geared more towards families than small businesses, but does the basics well.

AIM MAIL
AIM Mail does a good job of protecting users while keeping connections with contacts through an easily navigated interface. AIM Mail provides the greatest flexibility in allowing users to configure how they block unwanted -mails. The built-in spam blocker successfully thwarts nearly all of the junk mail sent to my inbox, and rarely classifies legitimate mail as spam. (continued...)

The volume of spam that gets through AIM Mail screens and is automatically rerouted to the spam folder is much lower than my Hotmail spam. That's surprising because I've had that account for a much longer time and have signed up for many things with that address. Users can also blacklist specific websites or block any mail that includes file attachments or clickable hyperlinks. Like all of the web e-mail programs reviewed AIM Mail automatically checks e-mails for viruses.

AIM Mail's interface for managing messages and contacts is the easiest to navigate and includes several unique features. E-mails sent to other AOL users that have not been read can be recalled. Also, AIM Mail users can see their contact's online status when reading mail, browsing contacts or composing messages, making it easier to respond via IM.

The tabs used to manage messages make it simple to organize communications, and you can also drag and drop messages into two gigabytes worth of storage. While you can share your calendar with peers or publish it as a web page, you cannot directly access it from within AIM's e-mail area.

Source: InformationWeek

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