Gmail turns 15: 5 facts about Google’s popular email service
Gmail is now 15 years old. Here are five things you need to know about Google’s email service.
Google's email service Gmail turned 15 on Monday. With more than 1.5 billion monthly active users, Gmail is now one of the most popular email clients in the world.
Launched in 2004, Gmail succeeded the likes of Hotmail and Yahoo which then dominated the internet market. With mobile phones gaining internet access, Gmail quickly gained millions of users. The service has also been deeply integrated within Google's ecosystem. It's also available as part of enterprise Gsuite applications.
Early days of Gmail
Gmail was launched on April 1, 2004 as a free email service. It was initially available as a limited beta. The testing phase continued until July 7, 2009 when it was made commercially available to all users.
Paul Buchheit, now an angel investor, is credited for developing Gmail. Also the 23rd employee at Google, he began working on the project in 2001. Buchheit is also said to be behind Google's multi-million dollar market of adsense. After leaving Google in 2006, he started FriendFeed which was later acquired by Facebook. He was also a partner at Y Combinator investment firm.
Increasing cloud storage
Did you know Gmail's early version offered only 1GB of free cloud storage? On its first anniversary, Google announced doubling the free cloud storage limited to 2GB. The company continued to increase the free storage limit. The biggest update came in 2012 when Gmail's free storage was increased to 10GB from 7.5GB. In 2013, Google integrated the cloud storage with Drive and Photos and increased the cap to 15GB.
While the initial interface featured basic email elements, Gmail later continued to add new features on the platform. In 2011, Gmail was updated with a neater interface. A couple of years later categories, also known as labels, were introduced. Last year Google introduced a big redesign to Gmail with deeper Material Design integration.
Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning
Google has integrated various Machine Learning-driven features. For instance, Smart Reply allows users to quickly draft responses to emails. Apart from predictive typing and searches, machine learning has also helped Gmail block spam messages. Google earlier this year revealed it blocked an extra 100 million spam messages using ML.