I’ve said it before, and I’m sure pretty much sure, all of you will agree with me that most of the casual E-mail users are happy just using the regular bunch of Free E-mail services like Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook, AoL etc., and some even use disposable email addresses. But is it bad to check out alternatives? Especially if they’re really good? Of course not!
Established E-mail services might suffice, but healthy competition is good as it benefits the customers, ultimately. Besides, E-mail users who’ve begun to worry that the NSA might continue snooping on their private conversations, a viable E-mail alternative that isn’t based in the USA might be just what they need!! Say Hello, to Mail.Ru.
Mail.Ru: What is it and who owns it?
Well, in short, the answer to the “what is it?” is simple – Mail.Ru is a brilliant free E-mail service based out of Russia. As far as the answer to “who owns it?” goes – it’s owned by the Mail.Ru Group. It is one of the leading Internet services providers in the high-growth Russian speaking Internet Market. Russia is Europe’s biggest Internet market measured by the number of users. According to the company’s official Wikipedia Page, Mail.Ru group’s sites reach over 86% of Russian Internet users. Their homepage (http://mail.ru) ranks amongst the Top 50 most visited websites in the world. Mail.Ru group provides the following web services:
- E-mail, Content Aggregation and Local news services
- Social Networks
- Instant Messaging
- Online Games
- Search and E-commerce
Mail.Ru: A great free E-mail service provider.
Now, I know what you guys might be wondering. You must be thinking, that if it’s a Russian E-mail provider, then most probably its online services are in the Russian Language. Undoubtedly, that’s true. The homepage and the E-mail interface are in Russia, but the E-mail signup page is in good ol’ English. You can signup for the E-mail service here.
The signup screen looks like this:
Few important things to notice as illustrated by the signup screen:
- You are given the choice to enter your phone number for password recovery, a feature that puts the service in league with Big providers like Gmail, Outlook etc.
- You have the choice to choose from four different and short domain names : @mail.ru, @bk.ru, @inbox.ru and @list.ru. Regardless of what you choose, you can access all of them from the same homepage.
Complete all the required fields as per your details, and hit the green “Register” button. That’s it, you have a brand new E-mail address with one of Russia’s biggest Internet services company! Let’s go to the inbox.
Here’s how the default inbox looks like:
Obviously, the E-mail interface is in Russian. But after all these years of using different E-mail services, almost every Email user can see that the left pane is the navigation pane. The small icons next to the Russian text are self explanatory, denoting INBOX, SENT, DRAFTS, SPAM AND TRASH, from top to bottom. See, it’s not really that hard!
Another screenshot, showing a test mail opened up:
So, as you guys can see, signing up for the Service is ridiculously simple. And with a little help from (ironically) Google translate, you can easily get around the Russian web UI. Besides, with the primary options (inbox, sent, drafts, spam and trash) being obvious, the whole task gets simpler.
OK, the Service looks pretty good. But what if I still can’t figure out the Russian Web UI?
I know that most of you guys would be skeptical about adopting mail.ru at first, because even though the service is super good, the Russian language UI might seem like a setback. Well, not to worry fellas. You can use Mail.Ru with any of the popular E-mail Clients, as it provides seamless POP/IMAP/SMTP access.
Mail.Ru’s welcome mail accessed through Mozilla Thunderbird e-mail client:
Mail.Ru features summarized:
- Unlimited Email storage.
- 30 MB Attachment Size Limit.
- SSL/TLS powered Incoming and Outgoing Mail Encryption
- Supported by all major Web Browsers
- Phone number as a method of Password Recovery, besides the usual Secondary E-mail method.
- POP/IMAP/SMTP access.
E-mail is something really important. Almost all of us use it for our personal and professional purposes, on a daily basis. Thus, it’s really important that we use an Email service that works the way we want and respects our privacy. And while the major Email providers are sufficient, often services that are unheard of provide a much better user experience. We must at least give them a try and see how they work out for us.
Do you guys use any non-US based E-mail services? If yes, what are those and how good enough are they? Do let me know your thoughts in the comments below.