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Gmail – A fool’s errand?
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Keywords

Google, innovation, digital tools, vision

Description:

Having already tinkered with the idea even before the launch of Hotmail, prior to the turn of the century, Paul Buchheit swiftly developed an internal email application when suggested to build “some kind of email product”, doing so literally overnight. The development grew so much that it quickly moved from the famous 20% intrapreneurship time slot for workers to a main development for the division.

Its success came from its revolutionary interface, much quicker than those of its major competitors at the time, Hotmail and Yahoo!, which required users to reload the entire page when performing any actions. The same happened with other features such as instant search and its huge storage space, which might even be considered one of the first examples of a free, massively adopted cloud app.

Considered sci-fi at the time, Gmail sported a revolutionary 1GB of space, hundreds of times bigger than the industry standard at the time, which was way below 10 MB.

It wasn’t until after much corporate discouragement and about 3 years of growth, that the service, aptly dubbed Gmail, was launched to the public on the 1st of April 2004, to a deluge of calls to verify if it was an actual April fools’ prank as it was the tradition at Google at the time. And, as the saying goes, the rest is history…


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