We knew that a counter-offering to Google's Gmail service offering a minimum of a gigabyte was due in summer. Users who paid to expand their mailboxes received a pleasant announcement in the last 24 hours from Yahoo - If you had a 25Mb mailbox before, it now measures two gigabytes.

You are also able to send attachments up to 10MB, an improvement on the previous figure of three. The company also rang in the changes with a subtle redesign but didn't radically change the formula that has won them nearly 40 million users worldwide.

Users worried about breaching the halfway mark of the old limit can relax as 12Mb is a mere 2% of the new total. In addition, the free account users with 4Mb of storage (and some older accounts with 6Mb) will be pushed up to 100Mb on the American side of the free service - the previous maximum size of the old premium mailbox service costing $50. Yahoo had already removed Spam and trash from the email total just like Hotmail, although they haven't brought daily junk removal to the front end of the service. Microsoft isn't far behind its rival with 34.6 users in the Nielsen netratings, though it has yet to reveal its own storage plans and Google cannot comment because of its flotation.

Whatever happens, Gmail remains mired in privacy concerns, which won't affect established rivals. Although Yahoo has incorporated similar text tracking technology into its redesign, it's a tool for the user and one the company has no plans to try and use in order to sell or allow others to directly market. We never thought that after the battle for recordable DVD seems to be turning to the +R/W format, that the next storage battle would stay online, but we'll carry on reporting as the dust settles, especially the all important Microsoft alternative which we've yet to see.

Figures: AP , Nielsen