GOOGLE'S EMAIL SERVICE Gmail has surpassed Hotmail as the world's largest email service, according to figures revealed in a post on Google's blog on Thursday.
"Gmail, which launched in 2004, has evolved from a simple email service to the primary mode of communication for more than 425 million active users globally," wrote Google SVP for Chrome and Apps, Sundar Pichal.
Google wasn't willing to independently verify that it had overtaken Microsoft's popular email service, but if the figures are correct it represents significant growth for Gmail, which according to Google had just 350 million active users in January.
The steep increase could be attributable to the recent upsurge in Android phones, which require a Google account in order to access the firm's app store, Google Play. Google said at its I/O Conference keynote on Wednesday that 400 million Android phones have been sold thus far.
While it's probable that many people have multiple accounts, the figure is still an impressive number, equivalent to nearly a fifth of internet users in the world.
However, according to figures release last month from internet analysis group Comscore, Google has just 289 million users in May, with Microsoft's Hotmail holding 325 million and Yahoo claiming 298 million.
When we asked Microsoft for a comment, it replied, "Hotmail has approximately 350 million active users, and according to latest comScore reports, Hotmail remains the worldwide leader."
Meanwhile, Pichal also claimed in the blog post that Google's Chrome web browser is the most popular in the world, with over 300 million active users.
"Chrome, which we built from the ground up as a browser for the modern web, has seen tremendous adoption," Pichal said. "Thanks to many of you, Chrome has nearly doubled since last year's I/O-from 160 million to 310 million active users around the world."
According to figures released in May by web traffic analysis firm Statcounter, Chrome held 32.43 per cent of the global market, edging out Internet Explorer's 32.12 per cent.
Pichal told an I/O Conference keynote audience that by the company's metrics it is now a clear leader, although Microsoft contested recently reported figures that said Chrome had stolen the web browser crown. µ
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