View Full Version : Google Gmail

04-05-2004, 04:32 PM
Google. A web based mail service. Financed by contextual ads. Free of charge. One gigabyte of mail storage. Keyworded categorisation. Built in exportation mechanism to other services, would you want to change over. Sadly no Safari support.

Brought public March 31, press release April 1, speculated about as an April fools joke - It's not. Sure the press release is in the spirit of the day, but the actual service is real. It's being beta tested for the moment. And it's a darn better deal than Hotmail, Yahoo! mail or any other free email service around.

Google::Google Gets the Message, Launches Gmail (http://www.google.com/press/pressrel/gmail.html)
SearchEngineWatch.com::Google Launches Gmail, Free Email Service (http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3334241)
miscoranda.com::Testing Gmail (http://miscoranda.com/102)
Topix.net::The Secret Source of Google's Power (http://blog.topix.net/archives/000016.html)

04-05-2004, 05:44 PM
i'm getting one. i don't really need a 1gig, but i get some much spam in my hotmail account, its outstanding. shame it's going to have to be web based. would have liked to aces it through moz mail or thunderbird

04-05-2004, 05:53 PM
They'll probably add it later on. It does not have it for the moment, however.

Remember this is Google we're talking about. They'll do what they find a user demand for.

04-05-2004, 06:10 PM
Lets do some maths....
1 million users (they'll get that easy) X 1000Mb = :eek::eek::eek:
Damn! I'd love to see the server building dedicated to this new venture...

P.S. I'm in. Sign me up :D

04-05-2004, 06:23 PM
Too bad their software reads your email....

Software will read the entire content of each message in order to display ads in the reader's window specifically targeted to what is being discussed in the email (send an email to your brother about acid indigestion and they'll end up an ad for acid indigestion medicine). Sure, it is being read by a machine, not a human....but it still has some privacy advocacy issues here and there.

Also, the gmail privacy policy says that your emails will/may be retained on the system, even after your account is closed. But the real problem is the privacy policy, which does a poor job of saying what it is exactly that will be done with that information. (though now they've added a line saying that your information will not be sold, shared or rented...but does not define if that information is your personal information only, or if it also includes your email transactions) If google dedides to share information or gets bought or merges, or (as has been hinted at) links web searches to email messages...that is a lot of personally identifiable indexed information that be used to correlate quite a bit of searches, correspondence and other privately identifiable information. Especially when you consider that google stores all information you search on, including your IP, date/time, search and a cookie Identifier in conjunction with their DB. Google doesn't consider an IP address personal identity information, since they contend some IPs can be dynamic...which is true to an extent (certainly not as true as it used to be). Although it can easily be argued that what one searches for is private. And once you've got an email address into google, either with Gmail or one of your real email accounts....that's a direct connection between a lot of what you have done online with relation to google.

04-05-2004, 06:27 PM
I'm excited about this!! I hate having a hotmail account, but I'm accustomed to the convenience when I'm traveling, and I don't want to have to pay for a .mac address when I already have a site. Google gets me away from MS, I already supplied my email that I'm interested to them. Awesome :thumbsup:

04-05-2004, 06:39 PM
Just as an aside, Google calculates on being able to accomodate about 100 million users, with about one million signing up this year (according to various sources on the net that may or may not know what they are talking about). That means that they calculate coldly on being able to get about 100 petabytes (about the double their current storage capacity) to handle just mail.

Also, I wouldn't say that is an impossible feat. Don't forget that we're talking about a company that has three copies of the web in RAM, and several copies in multiple places on magnetic media.

Andrew: It'll not be a single dedicated server building. It'll be THE Google computer, a distributed computing system consisting of currently about 100 000 servers in datacenters of 10 000 to 15 000 servers each, across the globe. The same system that powers the search engine.

Roy Sinclair
04-05-2004, 07:17 PM
I'd also guess that most users will never approach 1GB of email stored on the Google server, in fact it would be because they've measured how much email the average user keeps around (long term) that they've got a good idea how much actual storage will be needed that they went ahead and decided that 1GB would make an upper limit which sounds magnificent for advertising but is probably only going to be used up by very few individuals.

04-05-2004, 09:39 PM
i doubt it's a big problem that google reads your mail, out of 100,000,000, who cares really? i haven't got anything illegal(or woth prosecuting for :D) going on in my email. and honestly, you think your mail is safer on hotmail? that i doubt, coming from people who think that "the web is expanding, and frankly, i'd prefer it be us who are in charge". where on earth do google get their money from? that really bugs me, they have ads and their contract with yahoo, but can that cover costs of running such a huge system?


P.S downright secksy site Feyd :)

04-05-2004, 09:57 PM
Google's AdSense and AdWords products are the most profitable web ad services on the net, they reap rather large profits from them. They also gain profits from custom search servers and search services provided for corporate intranets, they provide results for other search services, they provide wireless search service.

04-05-2004, 10:08 PM
didn't the contract with yahoo expire and they(yahoo) now run there own engine.

Think how much it is for an add at the side of google/sponserd link and think how many keywords/combos of keywords there are and that is the amount of possible profit from advertising they could make.


04-05-2004, 10:41 PM
I think gMail spells big trouble for Yahoo Mail. I currently only use Yahoo Mail, but most definitely will switch when gMail comes out. A lot of people probably will do the same, and considering how Yahoo relies on its Mail service for a lot of traffic and revenue- not good for Yahoo.

04-05-2004, 10:47 PM
By the way, Screenshots are at:

04-05-2004, 10:51 PM
Yeah. But now that Inktomi and Overture are prime, Yahoo! will be able to sustain themselves on their searcfh services in a much higher degree than the former situation, where they relied on Google. However, if Google gets something to compete with Yahoo! Groups they might put Yahoo! in a really strained position.

04-05-2004, 11:02 PM
Good point about Yahoo Groups vs. Google. Though google mail accounts are certainly a big step in the direction of that kind of competition, it just depends on how much google is willing to diversify and shift out-of-focus their brand while retaining that focus.

04-06-2004, 12:48 AM
I'd also guess that most users will never approach 1GB of email stored on the Google server, in fact it would be because they've measured how much email the average user keeps around (long term) that they've got a good idea how much actual storage will be needed that they went ahead and decided that 1GB would make an upper limit which sounds magnificent for advertising but is probably only going to be used up by very few individuals.

That is exactly it. Webhosts use the same technique. They might offer a huge amount of space or in some cases unlimited space but they know that not every user will actually use up all that space.

04-06-2004, 04:32 AM
I'd also guess that most users will never approach 1GB of email stored on the Google server, in fact it would be because they've measured how much email the average user keeps around (long term) that they've got a good idea how much actual storage will be needed that they went ahead and decided that 1GB would make an upper limit which sounds magnificent for advertising but is probably only going to be used up by very few individuals.

Yep, and I believe they will be limiting attachments to 10MB so it isn't like you could be emailing full CD ISOs around or something.

04-06-2004, 05:50 AM
By the way, Screenshots are at:


Sorry to shout, but I was offended by their interface :mad:

04-08-2004, 07:02 AM
to the privacy advocates: would you prefer ads about totally random stuff, like McDonald's and Viagra or ads targeted at you? A new resturant in your area? tried and tested physician? don't forget that ads help consumers as well, especially ones that apply to that specific consumer.

04-08-2004, 03:21 PM
It is not about the ads it is the fact that they will be scanning all of your emails. One of the things the privacy advocates want to know is how this information will be shared with other corporations. I will stick with yahoo.

04-08-2004, 06:53 PM
What is currently stopping Yahoo from scanning your email? Nothing; it is just that Google is telling you that you they will be reading it.

04-08-2004, 06:59 PM
I agree, I'm concerned. If I had a Gmail account, I would definately only use it for your regular conversation -- not that my regular mail isn't that safe regardless, but I don't want it mixed in with god knows how many other users, and saved for an extensive period of time.

Especially here in the U.S., I can already see a new administration subpeona-ing Google for Mail copies as a way to thwart terrorism. They've already attempted to pull medical records and all account transactions for flight holders (our JetBlue is the culprit on that).

04-13-2004, 01:03 AM
I believe they are only scanning your e-mail just to find revelant keywords and display ads situated to the message. Not store your whole message and give it to the Iraquies or Bin Laden...

04-13-2004, 02:10 AM
Google wouldn't, of course -- but to scan an email message, means you have a computer's eyes on it, and memory with it -- relevance by words = a memory of information on both ends. That can be subpeona'd -- and it's not the Iraqis I worry about, it's my own government.

I think we're violating a politcal discussion rule somewhere :), or am I wrong on that and it's open season?

04-13-2004, 11:27 PM
As for the whole Yahoo vs Google thing, Yahoo also has their games department which brings in quite a bit of traffic (so ads there are profitable). I'm sure Yahoo will lose some traffic, but they'll live.

As for Mail services scanning your emails... how do you know if they're scanning your emails? For example, if you have an email address with your ISP, how do you know they're not scanning your emails? My ISP, Telus, has a spam filter on their email service -- so that's considered scanning your emails too.

If they're scanning your emails already, I'm sure it's not hard to pick out some keywords or phrases and flag those emails accordingly and forward them to the FBI!! Just as an example anyway...

It will only be a computer scanning your emails after all, and I think if you're really worried about it just encrypt your email messages. You can use the whole public/private key thing and just encrypt your messages. Even if you include the decryption algorithm in your message, the computer wouldn't be smart enough to find it and apply it to your message.

Just a thought...

04-20-2004, 12:20 AM
I think a gigabyte of storage is a lot. I get 20-25 emails a day (most of which are spam) and I barely use 2 megabytes.

05-05-2004, 03:54 AM
I am thinking that maybe there is a catch like you can only have so much mail and/or the size of the mail might need to be only so big...

05-05-2004, 04:33 PM
I believe you can't remove mails from your Gmailbox (only move them to the trash) so it might add up, certainly if html-mail with images etc becomes the norm.

Billy Boy once set that no PC user would ever need a HD of more then 1 GB so in a few years a mailbox of 1 GB might be seen as a strict minimum.

I'll be trying it out for sure cause i think a searchfunction on my mails is realy a nice enough feature to cope with the add-texts.

05-28-2004, 07:48 AM
Wow this surprises me that google would do something like this. It makes me think google is turning into one of those evil spyware or spam companies: offering great things for "free" but with a nasty privacy invasion. The whole 1gb thing makes this seem even more evil in offering such an deal just so they can scan your email (if they are willing to give this much for scanning your emails, they must really value scanning your email) . I would not like the idea of my emails being scanned to profile me. Ill stick with my personal mail server.

05-28-2004, 12:29 PM
Google will not give out any of the information they've collected on any single person to a thrid party. In fact, they're lawbound to never give it out, even in case of police investigations. (They may have to give access to their systems to the police in case of them being investigated, however.) They are also bound by non-US laws governing storing information about citizens, some of which states that data about a person may never be stored in a public, human accessible form so that the data may be connected with a certain person.
(Well, there's limits to these kinds of laws, but Sweden for one for example.) That makes statistically treating the data the ONLY choice Google has, except for on the demand of the person involved. (Such as when logged in...)

I believe what Google wants to access, is raw data for anything. Their entire business builds around handling, categorisation and sorting of data, and email would give them a very large data sample of the more casual data kind. This would be great for their human language semantics efforts, for one.

06-02-2004, 02:13 AM
Google will not give out any of the information they've collected on any single person to a thrid party.

The same was said about JetBlue, I've stopped flying them because of this:

I'm replying to this thread since there's three now:)

Not as a sly comment, but we are naive to think that this information will only be used for their profit and benefit. History has often proven otherwise; no matter how honorable their wishes, there will be leaks. Though google is not 'willingly' giving up personal information of it's users, who's to say it can't be taken from? There are more ways than one, and if you question that, I'll post up multiple US history references (and highly interesting books) that speak otherwise.

Just because google says it doesn't make it untouchable gold.

06-02-2004, 02:47 AM
Google will be driven by their business needs. If Google are committing a crime according to any countrys laws, they will have a hard time working out of that country any longer. Thus, Google will try not to break Swedish law, because they want to continue business in Sweden. They will want to not do anything that might offend Swedes as whole, because Google are interested in the people that Sweden might put through their services. Same goes, in a higher degree, to countries with larger population. If California passes that law, Google will abide it, there and elsewhere. Even if California does not pass the law, Google will try not to break it because there are other laws in the background, in the US and elsewhere, that might hamper their business needs.

Google are trying to give the image to the knight in the shining white armour. They might be driven by humans with such an attitude right now, but they will not be forever. However, we can never expect any source to keep data safe. What we can do, is look at how open they are about their architecture, and how that architecture handles it. Google have previously been very forthcoming in this aspect, and taken privacy and security very seriously. However, the only thing that can prevent such a thing from happening is that Google would take meassures that prevents the possiblity. Architectural meassures. And with the current Google leadership, I would believe that such a structure is the most likely one. However, even if such an architecture is not devised, I do believe that the issues I addressed in the first paragraph weigh heavy on them keeping to a strict privacy and security.

06-02-2004, 05:19 AM
All good points -- I think my fear is less with google, and more with what others would like to do with google's stored data. Mostly, I base this on our current Patriot Act which allows the claiming of relevant data in the question of 'terrorist' cells. I could easily see that shoddy claim used to retrieve any relevant information they deem needed... which means almost everything. Other than that Act, there are countless number of privacy violations daily.

And, regardless of our State of California laws, they are constantly in conflict with federal laws. Current Proposition 215, passed by california voters, allows Medical patients to use 'Marijuana' prescribed by their doctor -- the Federal government has deemed this law counterproductive to their drug enforcement division. Therefore, Oakland - San Francisco - and many others deputize employees to enact the Proposition, and DEA agents arrest them. There are many more like these at http://www.free-market.net/

So, if it's privacy protection is passed in California, what if it is deemed important for National security to have access? Then it's US property.