Why Gmail is finally more popular than Hotmail

Angus Kidman 12 July 2016

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Yes, it really did take until 2016 for that to happen.

Now is the winter of our Gmail. Google's free webmail service has finally overtaken its long-time rival, Microsoft's Hotmail/Live/Outlook.com (delete depending on when you first started using it), to become the most popular email service in Australia.

According to Roy Morgan, in the 12 months to April 2016, 7,427,000 Australians aged 14 or over used Gmail. That was higher than the 7,362,000 emailing through a Microsoft account, which is the first time that's happened. The other services used by large numbers of Australians are Yahoo!7 Mail and Telstra BigPond, though both have seen drops in usage over the past four years.

For people of a certain age, Hotmail is the punchline to a joke about the email service their grandparents use. Actually, in its modern Outlook.com incarnation, Microsoft's email service is very slick, and isn't really deserving of the jibes. Another factor that's likely to have helped maintain its popularity is the fact that you can use a Microsoft account to sign into Windows 10.

Gmail has a similar advantage: if you have an Android phone, then using a Gmail account is the easiest way to sign in. With Android now the most popular smartphone platform in Australia, it's not surprising that Gmail has edged ahead.

The decline of the other two services is equally unsurprising. One big disadvantage of using any telco-provided email service is that you'll usually lose access to the account if you decide to switch providers. As for Yahoo!7 Mail, without a tie-in to another platform it's always going to struggle.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

Picture: Shutterstock

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