I joined Google’s Gmail service back in March of 2005. At that point, you could only join by invitation. I was able to find a guy that had a Gmail account on one of the tech websites I usually visit (PCMag.com) and got him to forward me an invitation. Once I was approved and given a log on, I tried it out. I was immediately in love. Google Gmail is simple, elegant, and has TONS of space to store all of your emails. It’s because Gmail started offering 2.5Gb of storage that Yahoo! Mail had to up their limit too. While Gmail’s form factor, or interface, is minimal (which is typical Google), the functionality is fantastic.
Gmail has many cool features that I enjoy. Instead of folders, it uses labels. You can affix multiple labels to a message and search on these labels. Makes finding emails easier. Also, Gmail will sort your emails into groups. Emails with the same subject get stacked on top of each other into a message thread called a “conversation”. This lets you see all the emails pertaining to a subject instead of having to search through 15 separate emails for a piece of info. It also lets you see each email within the context it was sent. This particular behavior takes some getting used to, but I love it now that I am.
For the first few years Google added small items of functionality to Gmail, but the online interface remained the same. When you logged on, this is pretty much what you saw.