From April Fool’s Joke to Email Giant: The Story of Gmail

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Back in 2004, Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were known for their fun April Fool’s Day jokes. They once joked about a job on the moon and a feature to smell searches online. So, when they announced Gmail on April 1, offering 1 gigabyte of storage, many thought it was just another joke. At that time, having so much space for emails was hard to believe because other email services offered very little space.

Why Gmail Was a Big Deal

Before Gmail, if you used email services from Yahoo or Microsoft, you could only keep a few emails before running out of space. Gmail changed that by offering 500 times more space. This meant you could keep around 13,500 emails. Not just that, Gmail made searching for old emails easy and grouped related emails together, making conversations easier to follow.

Marissa Mayer, who worked on Gmail, talked about focusing on storage, search, and speed. Paul Buchheit, the engineer behind Gmail, remembered how people were skeptical, thinking it was a prank.

Overcoming Doubts

Despite the doubts, Gmail was real. The Associated Press confirmed it after visiting Google’s headquarters. They saw how Gmail worked and noted its big storage and fast search.

Gmail’s Growth and Impact

Now, Gmail is huge, with about 1.8 billion users. It offers 15 gigabytes of free storage, which is a lot more than before but still not enough for everyone. Google, like other companies, sells extra storage if you need more.

Gmail was just the start for Google. It led to other services like Google Maps, Google Docs, and the Android system for phones. Gmail also showed that Google was interested in using email content to target ads better.

The Early Days of Gmail

In the beginning, Gmail was invite-only because Google didn’t have enough computer power for everyone. This made Gmail invites very popular, even sold online. But by 2007, Gmail was open to everyone.

Looking Back and Ahead

Gmail’s story from a doubted announcement to a key email service shows how much technology has advanced. It reminds us how a simple email service can become a big part of our daily lives, changing how we communicate and manage information online.

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