I sent the announcement from Spymac about their upgraded mail system to Stan/Larry but got no response, maybe they feel that Spymac is competition, I'm not sure. If you haven't been following what's going on at Spymac these days you should really check it out as a complete alternative to .Mac.<br><br>Earlier in the week Google announced "Gmail" beta which is a 1GB webmail service. It has received a lot of praise, but also a load of criticism (see below). Since it gives you more disk space for free than Yahoo will give you for $60/year its a pretty big deal, because it raises the bar so much higher for Yahoo, MS and others.<br><br>However, Spymac has also upgraded their free mail system to 1GB, but because of the way their system works I think it provides a significant advantage over any mail system out there, including Google. The biggest advantage is that Spymac mail offers POP3 access. That means no ads and you can use Mail.app or any mail system you desire with filters, your address book, etc. That is huge, IMO.<br><br>The only downside to Spymac's offering is their name. Google is an industry standard, known for their quaility and consistency. The question about Spymac is can it/will it survive and will it remain free? Also can they handle all the traffic and keep from having large periods of inaccessibility? (although it could be said that even Apple's .Mac pay-for-play service hasn't been a bastion of success in this area)<br><br>Another reason why I think Spymac is a better option than Google are privacy concerns. Both companies collect data about you in the form of cookies to push advertisements on their web banners, but because Google runs the world's largest search engine also, this raises more concerns than just ads. In this article at The Register they discuss how the personal data from your account could end up in the entire "search cookie". From the article:<br><br>"But it isn't so much Google searching email that has caused the anxiety from privacy watchdogs this week, as the company's confused retention policy. What will Google do with that data? Google's cookie is an index for all your searches until 2038, and sits alongside an Orkut cookie that tells Google - or friendly law enforcement officials or marketeers - exactly who you are. Google's Gmail will complete the picture, indexing private electronic discourse under the main Google search cookie. <br><br>Rather than allay these fears, Google's accident-prone co-founder Larry Page refused to rule out a future policy of 'joining the dots'. A simple "No, Never" would have prevented much of the damage. But asked if Google planned to link Gmail users to their Web search queries, Page replied: <br><br>"It might be really useful for us to know that information. I'd hate to rule anything like that out."<br><br>Google's Gmail privacy policy points out that your email will be retained even after you close your account." <br><br>I know I'm a bit paranoid about privacy, but that just doesn't sound so hot. I'm sure I'll sign up for one of these Gmail accounts, but it may just take the place of my rarely used hotmail account as a spam repository.<br>