Happy 10th Birthday, Gmail

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Birthdays are always special, and it’s always special when someone of Google’s turns the calendar. Even more special is when you realize one of their most important products have been around for a whole decade. We’re talking about Gmail, which has been around 10 years to the day today.

That Gmail launched April 1st seemed quite startling at the time. Google was only a search kingpin back then — would they dare challenge the prowess of AOL, Yahoo and Hotmail? Surely it was a joke, but nope — they were as serious as balls, and they set forth with launching the very service that ties together everything they do.

gmail 2004

What made Gmail so great that everyone was jonesing for it like a fix of crack? The biggest reason might have been the fact that they were giving users 1GB of email storage, a number that kept climbing as each day whisked by.

It may not seem like much now, but 1GB of storage for email in the early 2000s was like having a 5TB hard drive for music alone. Compare that to other email providers who hesitated to give you more than 50MB. And it was free! And without overly-obtrusive ads! And with Google’s famous search engine baked in!

That secret sauce alone was enough to have folks the world over begging for access to the service, which launched as an invite-only beta and remained that way for quite some time. Being part of Gmail felt like being part of an exclusive club. It was something magical back in those times.

Fast forward 10 years later, and Gmail is more than a symbol. It’s more than an email account. It has transformed into Google’s second most important entity, sandwiched right between Search and (arguably) Android. It’s the gateway to many great Google services of today, such as Calendar, Google+, Drive, YouTube and more.

But that’s enough reminiscing for me. I could go on and on about how Google has invaded my digital life starting with Gmail, but I won’t — this post might reach 3,000 words otherwise. Instead, be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below, as we’d love to hear how you stumbled onto Gmail and how it’s changed the way you go about your online business.

[via Time]

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  • ari_free

    April Fools! There is no such thing as gmail. It was all a clever con from google all this time just so we could get ads while thinking we were actually getting email.
    Now back to Outlook to check my real email…

    • http://www.scottcolbert.com ScottColbert

      Outlook and real email in the same sentence is the ultimate joke.

  • No_Nickname90

    Gmail actually came out on April 1st? Or is this another…? I don’t know… =.S

  • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

    I remember trading an Orkut invite that very first week of April for my Gmail invite. Memories.

  • http://www.memoryleakblog.com Chad Johnson

    I got my gmail invite not long after… I sent my first gmail April 30th, 2004. In June of that year I had people offering me money for my gmail user name. Strange to think that I have had gmail for 10 years.

  • sdrawkcab25

    “As serious as balls” ?

  • Barry D.

    I remember when I got my invite. It did feel like an exclusive club for awhile.

  • Scotsman of Loch Ness

    Invites were eagerly sought after. The other thing that Gmail did that no others did at the time was group emails together by subject. Outlook just received that with last year’s release.

    • Parker

      that’s the reason I joined gmail though I had a Hotmail & yahoo account.

  • hoz590

    Gmail sucks. You’re limited to a half dozen folders.