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April 2, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:14am

10 reasons to love Gmail

Google Mail is 10 years old, here are its best bits.

By Ben Sullivan

It came with 1GB of storage

When first launched, Gmail came with a whopping 1GB of storage! Compared to the 2MB to 4MB storage that came with competitors like Hotmail, Gmail didn’t even originally have a delete button. Users didn’t have to keep getting rid of emails to allow for more room in their inbox.

Gmail now comes with 15GB of storage.


Search option

Of course, with all the storage, it could have been quite easy for those early Gmail pioneers to get lost in all their emails. However, Gmail’s creator, Paul Buchheit, decided to put in a search tool that made looking for specific emails easy. This tool was not offered by the other major email services at the time.


Undo option

In 2009, Google engineer Yuzo Fujishima developed the ‘undo’ option which gives users 5 seconds to undo a sent email in case you changed your mind. Users can switch on the undo option in Gmail Labs under settings.


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Encrypts mail

As of March 2014, Google has made the move to encrypt users’ emails. On a blog post detailing the change, Google said: "Every single email message you send or receive — 100 percent of them — is encrypted while moving internally. This ensures that your messages are safe not only when they move between you and Gmail’s servers, but also as they move between Google’s data centers — something we made a top priority after last summer’s revelations."



In 2013, Google made a visual update to Gmail, adding in separate tabs for incoming messages: Primary, Social, and Promotions. This gave clutter-haters less cause for a headache when sorting through all the spam we get nowadays.


Gmail app

The Gmail app for Android came in 2008 on T-Mobile’s G1 phone. It came to iOS devices in November 2011 – and has been downloaded almost a billion times. It’s fluid, fast, and free!


Gmail took Ajax mainstream

Gmail was built using Ajax, a Javascript tool that lets pages update without reloading. Before Ajax, users would have to manually refresh a page and wait for it to load before seeing updated information, but with Ajax, Gmail became fast and smooth like a desktop email application. 

Cloud computing

Before ‘cloud’ as we know it, the idea of storing data on a server already exited for years, and Google utilisd this to deliver a service over a network with flexible mass storage, accessible from anywhere. Cloud! You could leave work and go home to your desktop, and access Gmail on a completely different browser or operating system and it worked, and looked the same. Gmail was always there for you, a new concept for many users.


Go into the settings tab, and you get to change the theme of your Gmail. There’s a whole range of fonts, cover images, background images.


It just works

Yes, simple and succinct. Gmail just works, all the time. It’s fast, reliable, has all the killer features, and with integrated functionality with Google Plus and Google Now, Gmail is an ever increasing lifeline of users’ lives.

Here’s what it looked like 10 years ago, from the Google System blog.


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