E-mail is Still the Killer App

A couple of very interesting posts by two Heathers at Hitwise Intelligence combined with two service terminations to remind me how important e-mail is to everyone. The Hitwise reports show that Google Mail and Yahoo! Mail remain huge parts of those companies’ audience attraction, while video and storage may just be distractions.

I have the Hitwise Intelligence site on RSS because they are always coming up with something useful.

The first items were about Google.  Heather Dougherty reported that GMail had outstripped YouTube in visits after a long period of user growth.  I was a bit surprised since YouTube has such a visible place in online sites.  I don’t go to YouTube often because our firewall blocks it.  I do occasionally back-door content by going to Google Video, though, which usually retrieves the same information.  Not much longer, apparently.  Google Video has stopped accepting new content and it makes me wonder if they are rethinking having a duplicate of YouTube in these trying economic times.  I had a few personal clips on the site, which I’ve now deleted although content that is currently on the site will continue to be available.

Then Heather Hopkins noted that Yahoo! Mail was used visited more often than Yahoo! Search.  I really wanted to add another exclamation point there but the brand name takes the fun away.  I hadn’t realized that Yahoo! was still the category killer in Web mail, with more than 5 times the traffic of Google Mail.  But Yahoo! has decided that some other services, like Yahoo! Briefcase, are not worth carrying if they’re getting so little use.  As Yahoo!’s online explanation puts it, since your e-mail (which you’re using far more often) has unlimited space, who in their right mind would use an online app like Briefcase?

It’s not surprising, really, to see that Web mail remains one of the fastest growing parts of both Google and Yahoo!’s businesses.  It’s interesting to see them get rid of some of the other resources that duplicate value that they have elsewhere in their offerings.