2 Years of Gmail4/01/2006 04:22:00 PM
Gmail celebrates its second birthday today, on April Fool's Day 2006. Here are some of the popular webmail app's biggest milestones with approximate dates:
April 1, 2004: Gmail introduced as April Fool's Joke--free, searchable webmail with 1GB of storage--a seeming impossibility that Google quickly affirms is real.
April 25, 2004: Active Blogger users invited to Gmail.
A long dry spell in feature releases begins as Gmail is slowly circulated via invitations. Invites come 3 at a time to certain users, then perhaps 5 or 12 at a time, and many months later, nearly unlimited invites are available to users. New features pick up again in 2005 as you follow the timeline.
August 20, 2004: Gmail Notifier (Win-only) released.
October 4, 2004: Gmail adds atom feeds and more ads to the interface.
April 1, 2005: Gmail doubles inbox storage to 2GB+ (from 1GB when it was introduced).
February 18, 2005: Google sends direct invitations to users who have signed up for accounts, rather than having them wait to be invited by other users.
March 1, 2005: Around this time, Gmail introduces its standard view and basic HTML view selector for feature-lacking browsers, like Opera.
August 26, 2005: Gmail begins tracking packages and mapping addresses.
September 1, 2005: Gmail Notifier for Mac OS X introduced.
October 19, 2005: In the UK, Gmail becomes Google Mail due to a legal issue over the name Gmail.
December 1, 2005: Gmail adds virus scanning to incoming and outgoing attachments.
December 8, 2006: Gmail gets Web Clips, small bites of RSS at the top of the inbox.
December 14, 2005: Gmail introduces automatic vacation response and contact groups.
December 19, 2005: Approximately this date, Gmail introduces the Switching Guide for moving from Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.
January 17, 2006: Gmail finally adds a delete button.
February 7, 2006: Chat hops onto Gmail.
February 10, 2006: Hosted Gmail for domains is introduced, invitation-only/beta style.
February 14, 2006: Gmail Chat and then Google Talk add emoticons.
February 18, 2006: Gmail nixes the Chat popups and rolls out Chat functionality to all users.
February 22, 2006: Gmail adds smart reply feature to fix mail flow for messages forwarded from other addresses.
March 17, 2006: Gmail user's current and deleted email subpoenaed by DOJ, privacy discussions ensue.
March 22, 2006: Gmail Notifier for Mac OS X updated.
Of course, not included here are mentions of the incredible grassroots style third party plugin/extension building that has both beefed up Gmail and led to many of its official feature releases! Nor does this timeline hint at Yahoo's (and in a limited way MS Hotmail's) moves to match Gmail's offerings over the course of its existence. Nonetheless, this timeline serves to show that Gmail has indeed progressed from its "foolish" infancy into a robust web app.
So, Happy Birthday to my favorite Google product (after Search of course), Gmail.