Today is April 1 and unlike what common sense would make you believe, the much loved and the most popular e-mail service, Gmail, has turned ten. Launched on April 1 2004, it has indeed come a long way, from being just another e-mail service to where it is today. Let’s have a look at how the journey has been for Google’s very own Gmail. Here are some features compiled by Time that not just differentiated Gmail at the time of launch, but some of which still continue to be a part of the service.
1. Online Storage
While other e-mail services offered a meagre space of a few megabytes, Gmail was the first to give its users a whole 1GB of space, which ensured you’d never have to delete any email again (well, at least that’s what Google claimed then). That didn’t just help people save important mails, it also made sure that users could save messages on the Gmail server. Today, we know that as cloud computing. Currently users get 15GB of storage free, which can be expanded, should the need arise.
Rather than having individual emails where one had to search for mail trails,Gmail offered conversations – threaded mails. The concept has now become a standard of sorts, not just for mails but even text messages.
3. App-like appearance
Instead of users having to visit another page in order to open/reply to a mail, Gmail offered everything under the same page. So, essentially you stay at one page and control all conversations from there. It hasn’t changed till now, although now it’s more intuitive.
4. Search option
Bigger space meant a bigger hassle to find the mails users were looking for. Am embedded search option helped users find the required mails with ease. Imagine living without that search option today.
Gmail still remains devoid of banner advertisements. All you see are text ads running on top and right side of the message box. In fact, it was one of the things that was responsible for Google receiving flak from almost everyone. Relevant advertisements meant an algorithm scanned through the email when it reached Google’s servers to find keywords. The messages were already scanned for spam and viruses, all Gmail did was add advertisements to the equation.
Gmail wasn’t open to all until 2007. You needed an invite to join and unless you had one, you couldn’t. The demand was so high that there was a time when people actually sold their invites on eBay. Now it is open to all and almost an integral part of our lives.
Now ten years hence, the e-mail service still goes strong, delivering a user experience that’s like no other, and essentially keeping the same features alive as it did back in 2004 and adding numerous more.