ICQ joins webmail battle


ICQ joins webmail battle

Instant messaging provider ICQ is offering a fee-based webmail service that includes 2Gbytes of storage, a calendar feature, task manager, notepad, wireless access and support for both Pop3 and Imap.

The service, which costs $20 (£11) a year, also includes spam filtering and blocking, protection against viruses and a 20Mbyte ceiling on files sent or received. According to ICQ, it translates messages into seven languages, compresses large attachments and offers Wap support for access from a mobile device.

Extra features come for additional fees. One such option lets users send e-mail messages to wireless devices that support SMS. Another is a video e-mail service that can be used by subscribers with a webcam attached to their PCs - the webmail interface has VCR-like controls to record the message, which recipients can play back without additional software on Windows-based PCs.

Ronen Arad, ICQ director of product management, said the company was also significantly revamping its existing free webmail service, which used to be a generic and bare-bones offering. It now has enhanced message search functionality, virus and spam protection, more ways to manage inbox messages, such as a new folder for drafts and sent-mail confirmation. However, inbox storage, at only 6Mbytes, is low compared with other providers.

AOL subsidiary ICQ is partnering with Mail2World to provide these webmail services.

More details about ICQ's webmail services are available at http://www.icq.com.

Juan Carlos Perez writes for IDG News Service

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