I’m really not sure what to make of this service.
Free email, I think its a commodity item and there’s not much value in it – by itself. As part of a package of other services, sure it can lead to a Yahoo like, suit of fee based services to supplement advertising revenue.
And this is where Google will shine. Each email will contain an advertisement – so what you say, so do the others.
Come real close and listen – Google’s advertisements will be targetted to the specific email message and be context sensitive.
Next – offering email newsletter publishers, an additional revenue stream by letting them place context sensitive ads in their email newsletters, just like Google offerse AdSense
However, my fear is that Google will not stick to its expertise – helping people find the information they want.
Free email is good, but in a few months I wonder if Google’s simple web site will start to look like Yahoo’s.
More coverage on this from Cnet, NY Times, and Fincnail Times, which had this to say However, Google is in a vulnerable position because of the market clout of its rivals, especially from Microsoft, which runs the operating systems and internet browser most Google searches are run on.