What about Hotmail ads? Does paying for it remove them? Also, why only 10MB space? Yahoo gives you 6mb and Lycos (UK at least) give you 10mb for free (Outlook integration for Lycos and 50mb for £1.99 a month - 100MB for £3.49).

Does paid for Hotmail give you anything extra, like POP access (which Yahoo and Lycos do anyway) or something that makes it worth the higher price when compared to alternatives?

We'll have to wait and see for Gmail - the ads don't really invade you privacy as they are computer generated. If you are worried about privacy you shouldn't use free web mail anyway (unless it is provided by your company and is secure with no ads).

1GB worth of emails could be quite a lot of ads - thus greater income for Google. However, there may be some that just use it to email large files to each other (thus no text for the ads to be based on).

For those who are worried about privacy - do you have Gmail, and if not would you even consider it (1GB of storage probably sounds appealing to many users). It is very fast and efficient - unlike most other free email providers. Also none of those irritating banner ads.