It has been ten years since Gmail caused a mini revolution with 1 GB of free email space. Most of the mailboxes had two to four MB of space back then. It was a different time for the Internet. Viral video of the infamous “runaway nipples” of Janet Jackson did not spread through YouTube because in 2004 it did not yet exist.
In those days, the world was mostly sitting in front of TV screens waiting for news about Rover landing on Mars and the discovery of dwarf planet Sedna. However Google did not waver and took the growth very seriously. When they announced the beta version of the e-mail service Gmail on April 1, 2004, many people thought that it was a hoax. It was almost unbelievable that it could offer a thousand times bigger mailbox than most of the competition. But they were not kidding. “You will never again need to delete an e-mail,” the Californian giant promised. And indeed, there was no longer any real need to delete, except of what was essentially redundant.
At that time, people could not get Gmail account otherwise than by invitation, which were quantitatively limited. Exclusivity has only contributed to the attraction, so people started selling invitations for significant sums of money, up to $200 per unit. Those who did not successfully sell their invitations until 2007, when Gmail opened to the public at large, lost a lot of their investment. In those years, the concept of Gmail has changed with many other innovations, which the competition slowly followed and introduced with a delay.
Google is best known for its search engine through World Wide Web. Search was also introduced through the mailbox and therefore it shortened browsing for the exact e-mail. Gchat started to replace chat programs such as by now almost forgotten MSN and IRC. The problem of spam is almost not noticed anymore today. With the system of pre-scanning the incoming content Gmail caused a revolution by putting away the majority of spam in a special drawer.
Even today, many people do not know that Gmail has an option that can prevent many headaches. After clicking “Send” button, the user has 30 seconds to pull the e-mail back. Love letter with delicate photographs accidentally sent to mother in law̍̍̍̍̍’s e-mail address? Do not worry, there is still time to cancel sending. You can enable this feature in the tab settings / labs.
There are many more innovations. Google’s last major process is to make a more thorough unification of the various Google services under one roof. Google+ (less successful competition of Facebook), YouTube, etc. are becoming increasingly interconnected. The model is obviously successful. According to the analyst firm Litmus, Gmail occupies the largest market share among online postal services with 40 percent. Microsoft Outlook is second with 23 percent and Yahoo! in third place with 22 percent.
Due to the fact that we live in a time when the technology is increasingly developing, companies compete ruthlessly who will be better. Ten years ago Gmail caused a revolution in the area of e-mail, and by constant innovations it proves that it deserves to be on top.
Opinion by Janette Verdnik