Google’s Gmail Turns 10

There is no doubt that the world of free email was shaken up by Google, but 10 years after Google’s service went public, it has become even greater than that. On 1st April, 2004, when the search engine giant had unveiled Gmail, the co-founders of the company had reckoned that it was just their way of improving email. People were ensured that Gmail was simply the product of the 20% free time of an engineer. Because of the existing free web email services at that time, it was a taxing exercise for Gmail to beat the state of the art Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo! However, a decade later, Gmail has become the second largest or third largest email web service, depending on your source as it has subscribers ranging between 289 million and 425 million.

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Nevertheless, the number of subscribers isn’t what’s so important. The point is that Gmail was able to claw out several million subscribers even though it started from zero and it managed to achieve this goal years after the major mail publishers had retained about millions of users amongst them. If Google would have left Gmail to be just a free web email service then it would have failed to do so. But, that didn’t happen and Gmail managed to do everything that Microsoft, Yahoo! and AOL had done and did in so successfully that it ate up lots of business users too.

The slick services and breezy new features in Gmail were extremely popular with customers and they are usually employees so it gave a boost to the service’s demand. That’s how the email service is at this position and only Microsoft is left of the Big Three, which is still fighting to ensure that Google’s service remains an email platform and trying to keep track of its own accounts. Today, Google’s Gmail-related applications have about five million business users.

In 2004, Google had made a late entry in the field of free email service and Gmail had been launched about seven years after the incorporation of the company that took place in 1997. To top it off, Gmail had gone up against Yahoo! Mail, Microsoft’s Hotmail and AOL. Larry Page said that Gmail was made in response to an email of a frustrated fan of Google. She had complained that it was difficult to find and store messages because of the storage limit and had asked the company to fix the problem.

In return, the company provided her and the rest of the Gmail users with improved search, buckets of storage and almost water-tight spam protection. People didn’t have to clean their inbox on a regular basis as Gmail came with about 1 GB storage while Microsoft offered a measly 250MB. Furthermore, the account wasn’t deactivated after a period of inactivity as in the case of Microsoft.  However, the beauty of Gmail was that it just didn’t fill the gaps that were left by other email services, but it offered more and better in terms of feature, giving it the position it has today.