Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Fool - The GMail style

By: Reetasri Bhattacharjee

“GMail is a new kind of web-mail, built on the idea that email can be more intuitive, efficient, and useful. And maybe even fun”. This is one line probably most of the GMail users miss when they log in. This in brief tell us what we are using everyday, what we are experiencing and what is so useful every time we log in to check our mails. Launched on 1st April, 2004 with a storage capacity of 1 gigabyte, today GMail is one of the largest products in the market. It recently celebrated five glorious years on 1st April, 2009. To mark the fifth anniversary, GMail announced its new feature AutoPilot. With the help of an automated artificial intelligence technology called CADIE (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed- Intelligence Entity) the feature analyses ones writing skills and replies for the person.

GMail is notoriously known for the April Fools’ pranks that it have been playing on the users and the market analysts over the past five years. In 2004 when Google announced its launch everyone thought it to be a joke because no one expected a mail to have storage capacity of 1 GB. But to everyone’s surprise Google did the impossible and launched GMail with the promised storage capacity. Immediately in a few weeks time other big players like Yahoo upgraded their storage. It is still to be seen whether AutoPilot is just another prank or a real feature in GMail.

GMail since then has been re-inventing itself coming up with newer and better facilities each day. GMail comes in the Beta version meaning that all the features that they launch are on an experimental basis which actually comes out from the Google subsidiary “Google Labs”. The idea of having Beta phase is to enable the users rather than the developers or professional testers to give the feedback. GMail says that it wants the users to be the critics and respond to all the new features that they include in it.

In the last five years GMail has evolved. It was the first mailing site which intigrated chat within the mail box. It was also the first one to include video chats. As Todd Jackson, GMail Product Manager says, that these innovations and features are “really important in expanding the scope of communications that Gmail makes fun and possible and easy and fast.” Other features like less spam, easy UI (User Interface), filters and labels makes GMail a favorite with millions of people around the world. Jackson further enumerates that the steady growth of GMail has been one of the reasons the users are hooked to it. Gmail’s first aim is to make it as user-friendly as possible and then add more additional features. Jackson claims that in the next five years it will grow more and get even stronger.
As for the users, we are certainly benefiting from the increased experiments from Google Labs. Today there are millions of users logged on to GMail and it is “counting”. With GMail coming in many languages it further increases the chances of its growth. The latest edition for India is its Hindi version. Transliteration will only help GMail and obviously us, the users.

This blog has been contributed by Reetasri Bhattacharjee a dear friend of mine. She is a regular blogger on blogspot and maintains the blog My Passing Moments


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