The story of Gmail, from “April Fools” to email giant in 20 years

GmailGoogle's email service that revolutionized the way we think about email management, blows out 20 candles: it was announced on April 1, 2004, and also for this reason the launch was perceived by many as an April Fool's joke. The service actually stood out clearly from the competition, with characteristics that seemed at the time fin too ambitiousas a space of 1 GB of space to archive emails and the possibility of carrying out searches directly within the application itself using the Google algorithm.

Well, at a distance of 20 years we can say that Gmail it was anything but a April Fool:. this application is in fact today the default mail application in many Android smartphones and it almost counts 2 billion email addresses which are exchanged further 120 billion emails everyday.

History of Gmail: the evolution from its birth in 2004 to today

In the 2004 the launch of Gmail it represented a decisive step forward towards electronic mail as we conceive it today. The possibility of having 1GB of space to archive your emails was a real novelty, taking into account what other providers offered at the time a few MB of space.

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In those years, due to the shortage of storage space for e-mail, users found themselves faced with one choice:

  • save emails locally, or on the memory of your computer, thus freeing up space on the server with the disadvantage of being able to consult the emails only on the device in which they were stored;
  • use a centralized email service but remembering cancel all the unnecessary emails in order not to saturate the storage space.

Gmail proposed a solution that it combined the best of both approaches: centralize your mail without having to worry about storage space anymore.

At launch Gmail wasn't public: to access the service it was necessary to receive an invitation and each new account could invite a maximum of 6 other people. After a long period of Open Beta lasted about 5 years, Gmail was made public in its first stable release In the 2009.

Over the years Google has several times renewed the interfaceallowing a better mail management and the automatic classification of the spam. Recently the Mountain View giant is releasing a version of Gmail that integrates GeminiGoogle's artificial intelligence.

The evolution of the Gmail logo over the years.

Google's most famous “April Fools” jokes

Since 2000 Google uses the anniversary of April 1st to throw elusive revolutionary products actually non-existent. This contributed to the launch of Gmail being perceived as a hoax. Here are some of Google's most famous April Fools' jokes:

  1. Copernicus (2004): at the same time as the launch of Gmail, a mysterious operating system was announced that would be used in a research center built on the Moon.
  2. Google Gulp (2005): a mysterious drink capable of increasing the drinker's cognitive abilities and intelligence.
  3. Google Romance (2006): a search engine to find your soul mate.
  4. Google Search Scratch and Sniff Books (2008): in Google book search there was a section that allowed you to “scratch and smell” certain books.
  5. Mythological Beasts (2011): in Google Maps when viewing in land mode and in Google Earth fantasy animals such as a dragon in a German forest or the Loch Ness monster in the lake of the same name were rendered in 3D.
Gmail launch announcement (2004)