How Gmail happened


Interesting article on the genesis of Gmail, on it’s 10th anniversary of existence.  While I found it interesting in its entirety, for those who like to get to the point, here was the “big deal”:

1 Gigabyte of storage, when competing services only offered 100 Megabytes

  • This allowed for you to keep your mail and search it, vs. the constant race to stay just under the email max size limit.

Presenting advertisements in line with your email

  • Gmail scanned your email traffic, and presented ads relevant to what you’re reading, so if you got an email about a concert, you might see links to ticket sales websites

Gmail was in “beta” for 5 years, before they removed the beta classification in 2009

  • They wore the “beta” symbol as a rebellious point, and only removed it to entice commercial customers

Gmail was one of the driving forces behind AJAX

  • They didn’t like how you had to refresh the entire page to get updates, and so they leveraged Javascript, which led to an explosion of new capabilities across the internet, where you could refresh just 1 panel or pane, instead of a whole website.
  • They didn’t create it, but their early use of it demonstrated what it could do, leading to rapid rise and establishing it as a new standard for faster user interfaces and quicker refreshes.

As I look back upon what I had considered a pretty primitive product in 2004, I never realized what pioneers they really were.  Happy Birthday Gmail!

Original Article:


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