Yahoo bolsters e-mail storage to 1GB

Company will join Google's Gmail as the only Web mail providers to offer 1GB of in-box storage.

Yahoo on Tuesday said it plans to once again boost its free e-mail storage limit--this time to 1GB, the same amount offered by archrival Google.

Beginning in late April, Yahoo will upgrade free users to the new storage limit of 1GB, up from its current 250MB. The company said it will take about two weeks for all Yahoo Mail users to see the boost.

Yahoo's storage upgrade comes one week after Google started offering Gmail accounts to random visitors of its home page. This has led to heightened speculation in news articles and blogs that Google plans to open Gmail's doors to the public on April 1, a year after it launched in its current test form.

Brad Garlinghouse, Yahoo's vice president of communications products, said in an interview that Yahoo Mail's storage upgrade was not in response to Google's latest moves. Instead, he said Yahoo is "paying attention to what users are doing and how they're using their in-boxes."

Since Gmail premiered last year, free e-mail has changed. Popular Web mail services such as Yahoo and Microsoft's Hotmail had offered strict storage limitations to their in-boxes, and required people to pay extra for additional space.

Shortly after Gmail was released, Yahoo announced plans to boost its storage to 100MB from 4MB, and then upgraded it again to 250MB in November. Subsequently, Microsoft said it would implement its own storage boost to 250MB.

Besides the 1GB of storage, Yahoo Mail will offer antivirus scanning. The service currently uses Symantec's Norton Antivirus to detect viruses, but prohibits people from opening the attachment instead of ridding the file of its infection.

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