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  • Emma Lake Boydston

Happy Birthday Gmail

Exactly twenty years ago, the fast-growing search engine company Google announced in an April Fools’ Day blog post that they were releasing an email service that came with one gigabyte of online storage. This large amount of free storage (roughly 250 times that offered by other competitors at the time) was so absurd that many took it for a classic joke – but it wasn’t. Gmail was born that day, and now has 1.8 billion accounts. Initially Gmail was invite-only; you had to know someone who had it already and beg them for an invite. I managed to get my personal Gmail address about six months later through a college friend’s invite and the service was far better than what our university offered. (And a few months after that Emma created her own personal Gmail address – so we really are early adopters!) Besides the huge storage, Gmail brought along some other features like labels in lieu of folders and emails displayed as conversations. Gmail certainly isn’t perfect, but I congratulate them on this milestone and for provoking the competition into improving.

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