in Germany and the United Kingdom, is afreewebmailservice provided byGoogle. On April 1, 2004 the product began
as aninvitation-only beta release. On February 7, 2007 the beta version was
opened to the general public.To this day, the service has remained in betastatus. With an initial storage capacity of 1GB, it drastically increased thestandard for free storage.Gmail currently offers over 7200 MB of continuously increasing freestorage (more space is continually being added - about 3.348MBa day), withadditional storage ranging from 10 GB to 400 GB available forUS$20 to $500per year. It has asearch-oriented interface and a "conversation view" similarto aninternet forum. Gmail is well-known for its use of theAjax programmingtechnique in its design,and has tens of millions of
Gmail was a project begun by Google developerPaul Buchheityears before itwas ever announced to the public. For several years, the software wasavailable only internally, as an email client for Google employees.Gmail wasfinally announced to the public in 2004 amid a flurry of rumor. Owing toApril Fool's Day, however, the company's press release
was greeted withskepticism in the technology world, especially since Google already had beenknown to make April Fool's Jokes (such asPigeonRank).However, theyexplained that their real joke had been a press release saying that theywould takeoffshoringto the extreme by putting employees in a "GoogleCopernicus Center" on theMoon. Jonathan Rosenberg, Google's vice-president of products, was quoted by BBC News as saying, "We are veryserious about Gmail."
When Gmail was first announced, access to the service was limited to thosewho had an invitation from an existing account holder, from
,and later through their mobile phone. Additionally, a limited number of invitations were given out directly from Google to end users via a linkon Google's home page. Creating a Gmail account without an invitationrequired a
-enabled mobile phone. Initially however,account holders received their invitations after being on a waiting listprevious to the launch. Google stated that the invitation system wasintended to initially reduce the amount of abuse, as spammers wereunable to make a large number of accounts. When the invitationsystem was in use, account holders were given up to 100 accountinvitations to send out to other e-mail addresses.