Rob Siemborski, Gmail Engineer, wrote in the official Gmail blog on Friday that "a few of you are using Gmail so much that you're running out of space, so to make good on our promise, today we're announcing we are speeding up our counter and giving out more free storage."
I have just checked my account and, yes, the storage limit has now gone up to 3Gb which is nice. Unfortunately for Gmail, not as nice Microsoft with its Windows Live Hotmail service which recently raised its own free webmail storage limit to 5Gb. Or, indeed, Yahoo which has been offering an unlimited storage option for webmail users since May.
So while Gmail may well have the high ground as far as sheer ease of use is concerned, when it comes to storage it is starting to slip way behind. This could be vitally important as the free mail market demands the capacity to store photo, video and other data so increasingly commonly attached to messages. It will be interesting to see how much the storage counter mentioned by Rob does speed up by. Currently it has been rising by between 0.4Mb per day, and unless it at least doubles that I cannot see it making much of an impact on high volume users. And I doubt that it will rise that much simply for economic reasons. Storage capacity costs money, and Gmail is looking to monetize the storage side of its mail service. Which is why if you do need that extra capacity you can buy it from $20 a year for 10Gb rising to $500 for 400Gb.