20 years of Gmail: remember the history of the internet’s main email

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20 years ago, a great truth took over April Fools’ Day. It was on April 1, 2004 that Google launched Gmail. Initially, many internet users thought it was a prank, something common in the company at the time. But that day, Larry Page and Sergey Bin brought real life to the email that became the most popular on the planet.

Gmail’s big difference in the mid-2000s was its gigantic 1 GB of storage space. It may seem small by today’s standards, but he was up to 500 times larger than providers at the timewhich offered 15 MB and even charged for it.

There was space for 13,500 emails compared to 60 in Yahoo or Microsoft inboxes. Google still allowed matches with files up to 25 MB and checking from any browser as it wasn’t tied to a desktop app.

The old Gmail interface was simple, but it brought modern features, such as message threading. (Image: Reproduction/The Verge)Source: Reproduction/The Verge

With the ability to store so many messages, Gmail incorporated Google search to retrieve old emails more easily. It was the provider who brought with him the chain of communications on the same subject.

Initially, you needed an invitation to open a Gmail account. It was only in 2007 that Google made email available to anyone. The following year, the company introduced themes, automatically separating incoming mail. Priorities, smart replies, summaries and one-click unsubscribe buttons have been added.

Gmail in 2024

Over the years, Gmail also popularized the cloud and the Javascript AJAX technique, making emails more dynamic. This way, inboxes are updated automatically, without having to press F5, and it also helped to reduce unwanted messages and spam.

Currently, Gmail has 1.2 billion users, which represents a seventh of the world’s population. There are around 1.8 billion active accounts, each with 15 GB of free storage, for emails and other Google applications, such as Photos and Drive.

Gmail has always been mobile, as it could be accessed from any computer with internet, through the browser. Now it fits in your hand. (Image: Solen Feyissa/Unsplash)Source: Solen Feyissa/Unsplash

Despite its current size, there are those who need more space. And that’s where Google makes some of its revenue, selling more storage to users who two decades ago needed just 1 GB for their messages.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: years Gmail remember history internets main email

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