April 1st 2010 marked the 6th year since Gmail has entered this world. Email has never been the same again. Introduced with groundbreaking features and some controversial extras, Gmail has revolutionised webmail. Here is an insight into what Google has done with Gmail to make it one of the leading email clients.
Not so long ago there was a time when we used to read a mail and delete it to save space. When the famous clients such as Yahoo! And Hotmail provided about 2 to 4MB of storage space Gmail announced an unheard of 1GB storage space. This alone was a strong enough reason to force an exodus of email users to Gmail. Within a couple of months Yahoo! responded by increasing its storage capacity to 100MB and so did Hotmail to 25MB. In another year, in June 2005 Gmail upped the ante by announcing 2GB of free storage and a promise of increasing storage space continually till they ran out of space on their servers. The same month Yahoo! pushed their storage limit to 1GB. Currently Gmail provides about 7400MB of free storage space, one of the largest offered.
The perpetual beta tag of Gmail was another stand out feature. It took five years for Gmail to lose that tag. This itself has undermined the beta term given to new under development products. The only through invite feature also gave a sense of security from spammers to many people. Though this may not be true, it did encourage many to prefer to pick Gmail over its competitors.
Gmail not only scored in fancy upgrades over other webmail clients but also made small but subtle changes which made email more fun and enjoyable. One such innovation is conversation threading. Instead of searching through piles of old mails for the last conversation, Gmail strung all the mails of a single conversation together. This made long conversation through email simple and fun. Another such interesting feature was the tagging of mails rather than arranging them in folders. An alien concept then but soon turned out to be much better way of organizing your mails. Instead of racking over your brains if a certain mail was to be put in travel folder or friends folder Gmail lets you label the mail with both friends and travel. These were small changes nevertheless encouraged a lot of email users to try out this new spicy email client.
Gmail has successfully snatched a big market share from its competitors and now is one of the most widely used email clients. It sure has brought a lot of competition on the webmail front forcing better service and products from its competitors too. One thing is for sure, Gmail is here to stay.