Yahoo will quadruple the amount of storage it offers for its free e-mail accounts and will bolster its desktop search software in efforts to keep up with rivals Google and Microsoft.
The expanded 1 gigabyte of storage will be available in mid-April, Yahoo said late Tuesday. This lets the Sunnyvale, CA, company match Google’s Gmail system, which has been in beta testing for nearly a year. Google, however, is reportedly making Gmail available to some users when they go to the Google site, and there is industry speculation that Google will officially launch Gmail on April 1.
Since Gmail’s debut, Yahoo gradually has increased its e-mail capacity. It offered only 4 megabytes of free storage a year ago. As part of the e-mail upgrade, Yahoo will include Symantec software to clean viruses detected in attachments.
Google raised controversy by serving targeted text ads relevant to the e-mail conversation alongside its Gmail system. Yahoo Mail serves only graphical banner and box ads.
According to wire reports, Yahoo also said it is expanding the reach of its desktop search software so that it indexes content from e-mail address books and discussions in Yahoo’s instant messaging service.