20 years of Gmail: remember the trajectory of Google’s email service

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On April 1, 2004, the most popular email service in the world today was introduced. Gmail turns 20 this Monday (1st) with a massive user base and a history of specific advances that have made its experience increasingly complete throughout its two decades of existence.

An April 1st joke?

There was a lot of distrust around Gmail. In addition to being revealed in a press release published on April Fools’ Day 2004, the email service promised too many features for a time when such platforms were limited. Its innovations have contributed to the fact that it currently has more than 1.2 billion users.

In the early 2000s, email platforms offered very few benefits to users who did not want to pay for the service. Most inboxes already offered free storage, but only 15MB. Still, spam messages were a huge inconvenience that made space even more limited.

Then Gmail appeared, promising nothing less than 1 GB of free storage to receive a massive amount of emails with document attachments, images, videos and other files in your inbox without paying anything.

Today, Google offers 15 GB of free storage to share across several of its apps — including Gmail, Drive, Photos, Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Faster search


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With more space available to receive email messages, users actually began to receive very more email messages. There was no longer a need to delete multiple messages received to make room in the inbox. This, however, would introduce a new problem: the accumulation of information.

It is in this scenario that Gmail’s advanced search engine shines, which has made searching for messages much faster and more efficient. “Using keywords or advanced search features, Gmail users can find what they need, when they need it,” read the press release published on April 1, 2004.

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Thanks to these differences, in just eight years, Gmail attracted more than 400 million users around the world. Today, that number has tripled.

Other Gmail advances


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Gmail entered the mobile era in November 2006, shortly before the launch of Android. The email platform gained a version for cell phones based on Java, standing out for its integration with cell phones. For example, it was possible to press a button to automatically call the number of the contact who sent an email.

Since its arrival on platforms beyond the PC, Gmail has received a wide variety of improvements to become smarter and rival Microsoft Outlook (which, to some extent, was known as “Hotmail”) and Yahoo! Mail.

Artificial intelligence feature automatically generates responses in Gmail (Credits: Google)

Currently, the service has advanced functions that are centered on artificial intelligence. One example is the use of machine learning techniques to detect spam and phishing attacks. Google also uses technology to generate intelligent replies and summaries of email messages received in the inbox.

Another solution designed for current e-mail problems is the “Unsubscribe” button, which allows you to disable the receipt of newsletters and other unwanted content that the user may have agreed to receive when registering on a platform using their email address. This feature is now publicly available.

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One of the events that marked its history in 2024 was the closure of the basic HTML version. Users who had slow connections could choose this option to load the email page in a user interface very similar to its design in the 2000s, which was significantly lighter and compatible with older browsers.

End of Gmail?


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Recently, Google had to speak out after rumors about the end of Gmail emerged. In February this year, social media users came across a false message that announced the “closure” of the email service used by billions of people, and the company promptly denied the rumors.

“Gmail is here to stay,” said the email service’s official account in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter). And speaking of the social network, Elon Musk, its owner, claims to be working on his own email service to challenge Gmail.

In response, some of the businessman’s followers criticized Google’s email platform, stating that they had “lost trust” in the company’s data privacy.

Are you a Gmail user? Comment your opinion about the service below!

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Gmail

Developer: Google LLC

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The article is in Portuguese

Tags: years Gmail remember trajectory Googles email service

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