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Weird to think about Gmail is only 15 years old.

I remember when you had to have an invite to join Gmail and I was fishing for one all over when it was released. I was begging people I knew that had access to send me an invite. So I have been with gmail for 15 years as well.

Geez, I am old. crazy how time flies and how much technology and this industry has changed in such a seemingly short time.

Comments
  • 11
    We used MSN for chat back then
  • 2
  • 6
    I never understood that inviting stuff.

    If someone uses artificial shortage to try to make things interesting, my first thought is "Fuck off"
  • 3
    I have some emails from 2007 on my gmail register spam accounts.
    I was more a yahoo guy and before I was using some local providers 🙂
  • 3
    @ddephor that was also my second thought, and the third. In particular if it's about nothing really special, like an email account.
  • 7
    @AymanH

    When I used newsgroups to chat instead of pirate

    When I discovered that games existed that needed special hardware called a "graphics card", and discovered that my PC had ISA slots instead of PCI/AGP.

    When I unironically used notepad to write html.

    When my monitor had more depth than width or height.

    I don't miss that time.

    The only thing humankind hasn't improved upon is xampp's milkdrop visualizer, I miss that thing.
  • 7
    @Fast-Nop @ddephor

    I did some work for an ISP company interested in providing webmail back then (xs4all, the first ISP providing internet to private Dutch citizens).

    For those days it was advanced web 2.0 stuff, at the start they had a lot of trouble justifying the overhead — and they were being paid by DSL subscriptions.

    Google as well was still a tiny unprofitable company compared to Hotmail/Yahoo, and providing all the functionality you expect from webmail, like actual mail servers with maintainable CGI scripts, address books, spam filters, secure auth, database to store millions of user preferences and email signatures, handling web requests... And a fucking gigabyte of storage...

    On server hardware that commonly had a hundred megabytes of RAM, a few GBs of storage, in a world where virtualization and automatic deployments barely existed, where pretty much all companies just had a static piece of HTML as a website?

    Many in the industry responded to Gmail with: "They offer webmail for free? They'll be out of business within a month, they're not Microsoft!"

    You have to realize that back then, I just bought a high end WD raptor 36GB harddrive for a few hundred bucks, every gigabyte felt like premium space, I paid attention to the size of jpgs and mp3s... So a company handing out Gigabytes of storage for free was a big stunt.

    So in that context I think it's understandable they went for a closed beta first, to measure the cost/performance on a small scale instead of being swamped by signups.
  • 3
    @bittersweet I remember they offered big storage space space back then that’s why it was invite only
  • 1
    By the way anyone remember after gmail there was something called email piracy distribution ?

    You got bunch of email login / password with lots of illegal software in the mailbox as attachments. Partitioned so you need to download parts from different email accounts.
    I even got some script to download stuff.
  • 2
    @bittersweet I had already free email by the end of the 90s accessible via POP3 and web, so that wasn't unheard of even many years before Gmail.

    Sure, not with GBs of storage, but that big mails didn't make sense at the end of the modem era, and the early DSL wasn't fit for that either. Besides, my PC by the end-90s had 2x500 MB storage (MB, not GB).

    Hell, even sending someone a 2 MB attachment was widely regarded as mailbombing back then.

    Sure, by the early 2000s, I got DSL, but IIRC with something like 6 MBit, and my harddisk was around 40 GB. Still, I never needed gigabytes for email storage. Even today, you mail a download link around instead of blowing up an email with a 1 GB attachment.
  • 1
    Nothing is like when someone sent you a gif image that said "loading virus" including the progress bar on MSN. Almost got a heart attack every time I saw it.
  • 2
    Ah my first gmail account...

    I think it's one big spamhole now, can't remember the last time I logged into that
  • 2
    @bittersweet aaah you remind me of late 90's, I sure do miss simplicity of life back then,

    1. internet was good enough for browsing
    2. checking emails
    3. google was just introduced
    4. Netscape days

    DOS is where I play games, lots of free time to enjoy, no tech to disturb you, everything was moving slowly, then came tech advancement and one needs to run as fast as possible to catch up or they will be out of the game in no time :\
  • 2
    I just remember when it was in beta. I mean, how much time it remained in beta? 10 years?
  • 3
    @gitpush I used to have a windows 2k machine for playing Diablo 2, and my mind was blown when I played coop over the internet with a friend. The fact that the internet could do that, that it could put our characters in the same virtual world... That it could be used for more than static webpages, IRC and mail made me realize it was so much more than just bulletin boards and "electronic fast postcards".

    But w2k was also the last Windows where I felt like I knew my computer. I could find every button and config option, knew every executable that ran.

    W2k was a closed source OS of course, but it wasn't until I installed XP that I felt I didn't "own" the software anymore and switched to Linux as my primary OS.

    I think some people will never understand that feeling of knowing every corner of your system like it's your home and will be happy with "OS as a service", but personally it disgusts me.
  • 1
    @AymanH And ICQ and Odigo, before that.
  • 2
    @Fast-Nop @bittersweet at that time, most emails providers offered 10MB to 100MB Max space with a terrible Webpage. The best way were to download emails to Thunderbird or Outlook.

    Gmail arrived with a much more interesting online page and 1GB of space. So, suddenly, you didn't need to use local clients anymore.

    I got an invite as well. It changed the way we used emails.
  • 3
    @brunofontes And the spam filter. Right from the start, Gmail offered great filtering, while ISPs didn't filter at all, or sold 3rd party Outlook plugins... In a time where hoax/virus mails became increasingly annoying.
  • 2
    @bittersweet yes! The spam filter were incredible good at that time. :)
  • 1
    @crisz

    It was an absurdly long time.
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