Gmail anniversary mistaken for April Fool’s joke

Gmail anniversary mistaken for April Fool’s joke

/ 12:52 PM April 02, 2024

People in many countries observe April Fool’s Day on April 1 by playing pranks on each other. says it originated in France in 1582 when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar.

Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are fond of this holiday, so they have been posting several online jokes to mark this day for decades. 

READ: How to unsend emails


However, that caused many persons to ignore one of the most influential innovations Google created: Gmail.

Today, this email service celebrates its 20th anniversary.


Why didn’t people take Gmail seriously?

On April 1, 2004, Google announced the preview of Gmail, which the company marketed as a “free search-based webmail service with a storage capacity of up to eight billion bits of information, the equivalent of 500,000 pages of email per user.”

That may seem trivial in modern times when we have phones storing terabytes of data.

However, the Associated Press says, this capability was unheard of in those times.

Previously, Yahoo and Microsoft’s email services could only store 30 to 60 emails.

On the other hand, Gmail could store roughly 13,500 emails before running out of space.

That meant the Google service has 250 to 500 times more email storage capacity.

Also, Gmail’s launch version had Google Search, letting users retrieve messages, photos, and other information quickly.

“The original pitch we put together was all about the three ‘S’s” — storage, search, and speed,” said former Google executive Marissa Mayer.

Contrary to popular belief, announcing the service on April Fool’s was intentional. 


“That was part of the charm, making a product that people won’t believe is real. It kind of changed people’s perceptions about the kinds of applications that were possible within a web browser,” former Google engineer Paul Buchheit stated.

Google co-founder Larry Page believed 20 years ago that people would love Gmail’s seemingly unlimited storage.

Nowadays, it seems he was right because Gmail now has approximately 1.8 billion active accounts. 

Google earns money from its email service due to the “digital hoarding of email, photos, and other content.” 

Most want to keep their data, so they’re willing to pay $30 to $250 annually for additional storage space. 

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Most importantly, Gmail was a game changer because it was the first building block in expanding Google’s online empire beyond its search engine. 

TOPICS: April Fools’ Day, Gmail
TAGS: April Fools’ Day, Gmail

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