I don’t know anyone who still uses Yahoo Mail or Microsoft’s Hotmail for their webmail, but I realize that there are still plenty of you out there. In fact, according to data from comScore , there are far more Yahoo users and Hotmail users than there are Gmail users (although Hotmail numbers are falling while Yahoo and Gmail numbers continue to rise). Maybe a Gmail junkie like me is a wee bit biased, but it seems that there’s only one explanation — inertia. You guys have your Hotmail accounts, already full of emails and contacts, so why switch? Well, Google just eliminated that excuse.
It’s now possible to import all of your emails and contacts into Gmail from Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, and other webmail services with just the push of a button. Basically, it means you can move over to Gmail and then carry on your correspondence with barely a hiccup — no maintaining two accounts, no searching for old emails, no rebuilding your list of contacts. This feature also facilitates a "trial period" of sorts, by continuing to pull emails from your old account for 30 days. (Yesterday, Google announced a similar importing ability for its new standalone contacts application.)
This feature is available in all new Gmail accounts and is being gradually rolled out to old ones. In his blog post , Gmail Engineer Chad Parry said it finally convinced his wife to switch over — and, hey, if someone had been able to resist the allure of Gmail despite the fact that her husband worked on the product, her resistance must have been strong indeed. I suppose the last bit of inertia is the fact that you’d have to tell everyone you have a new email address — but did you really want people to know you had a Hotmail account anyway?
VB's research team is studying web-personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.