April fools day was celebrated by many on-liners by putting up fake posts and articles, attempting to confuse and confound the general weboshpere. A major occasion which was ignored by most, even by the people who are the reason for the occasion, was that on 1st April 2004, Gmail was offered to the general public. To avoid any confusion on that date the folks over at Google did something else instead.
Gmail changed the way people looked at their web mail and definitely changed habits and mindsets. Having been restricted to just a few megabytes of storage space for so long, Gmail’s 1GB was unheard of. Gmails urged all users to “never delete any of our mails” and made us conform to using labels instead of folders. We were introduced to AJAX when no one knew of it and did not believe it existed. Webmail worked as fast as your normal desktop application and new features welcomed us frequently.
The oldest mail in my Gmail archives dates back to 13th April 2004. The invite was sent to me by my friend Aji who had to be convinced to let go of one of his ten Gmail invites. Thanks Aji! Today I use gmail for not only my personal mail but Google apps powers my website mail too. How much space so I have in my Gmail account today? 7313 MB, out of which I hardly use 400 MB. I still delete mails all the time, but if I can’t make up my mind in a fraction of a second about whether I should delete a mail or not, I can keep it because I have 7GB of space in my account!
Gmail remains in beta even after 5 years. I personaly don’t know of any software that was in beta for this long and still had so many millions of people depending on it for their day to day online activity. I know that I check my Gmail account as soon as I have a few minutes to spare and and check it again after that.
What I hate about Gmail is that when I finally find a fault with the system, labs comes up with an answer before I can rant about the deficiencies in Gmail. And that, I think, is the best part of using Gmail!