Yahoo, Hotmail,and G-mail are the most popular web mail services. Apart from these three, Mail.com, AOL,GMX, are also much popular.
There is always room for improvement. I have put down some features that I feel should standard for all web mail services.Some services already have many of these features. None has All of them. I have categorized these features. Please share your thoughts.
Yahoo accepts passwords up to 32 characters. Hotmail accepts passwords up to 16 characters. Some services are still stuck with the 8 character standard, which is obsolete. Hushmail, requires subscribers to use pass-phrases instead of pass phrases,which can be much longer than 32 characters.
Web mail services, however, accept much shorter passwords.
In my opinion web mail services should set the minimum character limit at 24 characters, and the maximum character limit at 48 characters. This will allow the subscribers great flexibility in creating strong, difficult to crack password.
Most web mail services now accept UPPER case characters, numerals and special characters such as *, &,?, and so on.
I feel all web mail services should accept UPPER case, numerals and special characters in passwords.
All web mail services ask for security question, an alternate email usually optional, for security in case of forgotten password.
Yahoo requires two security questions, which takes security to the next higher level.
I feel all web mail services should ask for two security questions.
Ease of Use:
Yahoo uses a tabbed interface in which mail searches, reading panes, options etc, open as tabs automatically. This is very user friendly. An automatic tabbed interface should be standard on all web mail services.
The sweep function of Hotmail, is a groundbreaking improvement. It allows user to move thousands of emails from one folder to another with a few clicks.
I feel sweep should be a standard feature with every service.
The most important feature not available with any service right now is the option to password protect individual folders.
I would love to see web mail services offering subscribers the option to password protect individual folders.
Subscribers (and unauthorized persons) can reset the password of any account if they have the current password. Resetting passwords apart of the "forgotten password" should also be more more secure, to safeguard against identity theft.
This process can be made secure by asking a simple question when a subscriber clicks the password change button and has entered the current password.
The question can be "What date did you register this account?" OR "What is your unique member ID?" (Hotmail provides both these on sign up to all subscribers.)
This would make the service far more secure.