Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Ten Years?

Has it really been THAT long?  Well, I guess so.  From an article in Time:
Gmail's home page as it looked on March 31, 2004, shortly before the service launched
If you wanted to pick a single date to mark the beginning of the modern era of the web, you could do a lot worse than choosing Thursday, April 1, 2004, the day Gmail launched.

Scuttlebutt that Google was about to offer a free email service had leaked out the day before: Here’s John Markoff of the New York Times reporting on it at the time. But the idea of the search kingpin doing email was still startling, and the alleged storage capacity of 1GB—500 times what Microsoft’s Hotmail offered—seemed downright implausible. So when Google issued a press release date-stamped April 1, an awful lot of people briefly took it to be a really good hoax. (Including me.)

Gmail turned out to be real, and revolutionary. And a decade’s worth of perspective only makes it look more momentous.
I remember when getting an invite to join Gmail was something of a quest for techies and techie wannabees... and they weren't that easy to get.
Once it was clear that Gmail was the real deal, the invitations became a hot property. The limited rollout had been born of necessity, but “it had a side effect,” says Harik. “Everyone wanted it even more. It was hailed as one of the best marketing decisions in tech history, but it was a little bit unintentional.”

Bidding for invites on eBay sent prices shooting up to $150 and beyond; sites such as Gmail Swap emerged to match up those with invites with those who desperately wanted them. Having a Hotmail or Yahoo Mail email address was slightly embarrassing; having a Gmail one meant that you were part of a club most people couldn’t get into.
I don't remember when I got my invite but it was well into Gmail's first year.  There isn't a way (that I can find) to easily get to the first message in my in-box or sent mail folders (which have 7,893 and 14,960 messages, respectively)... which would tell me how long I've had the app.  And that 1GB of free storage?  It's grown to 15GB, of which I have only used 15%.   We loves us our Gmail.

The Time article is fascinating.  Read it.


  1. I was so dense, I got an invite from a friend in the first year. I didn't know what it was and didn't respond in a timely fashion and the invites were only good for a couple of months and then, if you did nothing, expired. I had to ask him to send me another one of his 50 invites. He was a good friend and was happy to. But once I had my account, I also had 50 invites. It's hard to believe it has been 10 years. I'm running at 13% of the 15gb. Being me, I ask why do I keep that stuff and being me, I know why. Because I can.

    1. I think I may have used four of my 50 invites, with heavy emphasis on "MAY." As for keeping stuff, mostly useless stuff, a very large portion of my 15% of the available 15GB is devoted to archiving EIP comments. I have 30,942 comments in my Gmail EIP folder. Why? Because I can!


Just be polite... that's all I ask.