AOL gets ready to launch free Web e-mail

America Online is testing a Web-based e-mail service that will compete with Yahoo Mail, Microsoft's Hotmail and Google's Gmail.

Right now, the beta service is available to AOL subscribers only, but it will eventually be offered for free to the public, the company said on Wednesday. The service, dubbed "AOL Mail on the Web," is expected to officially debut early next year for members, and later in the year for the public. "This is paving the way for our free Web mail service that we will be offering to a wider audience in 2005," AOL spokeswoman Jaymelina Esmele said.

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News source: C|Net News.com

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