Hotmail, Yahoo still bigger than Gmail

There's little doubt that in many parts of the world, Gmail has become synonymous with email itself.

Yet according to new data from research firm Compete Pulse, Google's mail service still has some way to go before it catches up to email offerings from Microsoft and Yahoo, at least in the US market.

Compete's data showed that Gmail pulled in 25.1 million unique visitors in September, a figure easily dwarfed by Yahoo Mail's 72.8 million unique visitors. Hotmail clocked in at 48.5 million unique visitors.

Compete Senior Manager of Internet Marketing Drew Fortin tempered the figures by noting that Hotmail has a decade-long headstart over Gmail, while Yahoo Mail was established seven years before Google entered the email market in 2004.

In another interesting finding, Compete's data showed that overall, visits to web-based email services are trending downward, with an 11% drop in traffic year over year.

The web-based email market could be set for a shake-up on Monday if, as widely rumoured, Facebook launches ''Project Titan''. Touted as a ''Gmail killer'', Facebook's offering is tipped to be a full email service which would provide each of the social network's 550 million users an address using the @facebook.com domain.

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