There was a time this year when I sought to write up a detailed comparison of Gmail and Windows Live Hotmail, partly in a bid to verify for myself which was the better service. The truth is, I was very quickly able to determine that Gmail email is, in fact, vastly superior to Hotmail, especially for those who wish to manage their mail in a single place (i.e. the Web) even if they might occasionally do so from a dedicated client application like Outlook. (The same is not true of Gmail Contacts, which, even in the latest revision, is vastly inferior to Windows Live Contacts. Confusing matters, Google Calendar is currently dramatically better than the in-beta Windows Live Calendar.) Anyway... With the goal of getting the most out of Google's recent Gmail update, the Gmail Blog looks at some interesting new Gmail features:

When we began rolling out a new Gmail code architecture a few weeks ago, we also launched some new features to help improve the speed and convenience of managing email. I've been using several of these new additions over the last few weeks, and while they might seem small on their own, they really can add up to save you a lot of time and hassle. That's why I decided to list my five favorite new features that are so new, you may not have noticed them. We are still rolling them out to IE6, international and Google Apps users, but for those of you who noticed a new contact manager among other recent improvements in our latest version, here they are:

5. "Archive and next" shortcut
4. Share mail searches with friends
3. Browser navigation and history
2. Bookmark emails
1. "Filter messages like this"

It's funny to me how a Web mail solution like Gmail is suddenly such a first-rate email platform. The more I use it, the more impressed I get.