Gmail is a free email service provided by Google. As of 2019, it had 1.5 billion active users worldwide.A user typically accesses Gmail in a web browser or the official mobile app. Google also supports the use of email clients via the POP and IMAP protocols.
At its launch in 2004, Gmail provided a storage capacity of one gigabyte per user, which was significantly higher than its competitors offered at the time. Today, the service comes with 15 gigabytes of storage. Users can receive emails up to 50 megabytes in size, including attachments, while they can send emails up to 25 megabytes. In order to send larger files, users can insert files from Google Drive into the message. Gmail has a search-oriented interface and a “conversation view” similar to an Internet forum. The service is notable among website developers for its early adoption of Ajax.
Google’s mail servers automatically scan emails for multiple purposes, including to filter spam and malware, and to add context-sensitive advertisements next to emails. This advertising practice has been significantly criticized by privacy advocates due to concerns over unlimited data retention, ease of monitoring by third parties, users of other email providers not having agreed to the policy upon sending emails to Gmail addresses, and the potential for Google to change its policies to further decrease privacy by combining information with other Google data usage. The company has been the subject of lawsuits concerning the issues. Google has stated that email users must “necessarily expect” their emails to be subject to automated processing and claims that the service refrains from displaying ads next to potentially sensitive messages, such as those mentioning race, religion, sexual orientation, health, or financial statements. In June 2017, Google announced the end to the use of contextual Gmail content for advertising purposes, relying instead on data gathered from the use of its other services.
- 3Inbox by Gmail
- 4Integration with Google products
- 7Google Workspace
- 10See also
- 12External links
The Gmail webmail interface as it originally appeared
- On April 1, 2004, Gmail was launched with one gigabyte (GB) of storage space, a significantly higher amount than competitors offered at the time.
- On April 1, 2005, the first anniversary of Gmail, the limit was doubled to two gigabytes of storage. Georges Harik, the product management director for Gmail, stated that Google would “keep giving people more space forever.”
- On April 24, 2012, Google announced the increase of storage included in Gmail from 7.5 to 10 gigabytes (“and counting”) as part of the launch of Google Drive.
- On May 13, 2013, Google announced the overall merge of storage across Gmail, Google Drive, and Google+ Photos, allowing users 15 gigabytes of included storage among three services.
- On August 15, 2018 Google launched Google One, a service where users can pay for additional storage, shared among Gmail, Google Drive and Google Photos, through a monthly subscription plan. As of 2021, storage of up to 15 gigabytes is included, and paid plans are available for up to 2 terabytes for personal use.
There are also storage limits to individual Gmail messages. Initially, one message, including all attachments, could not be larger than 25 megabytes. This was changed in March 2017 to allow receiving an email of up to 50 megabytes, while the limit for sending an email stayed at 25 megabytes.In order to send larger files, users can insert files from Google Drive into the message.
Main article: Gmail interface
The Gmail user interface initially differed from other web-mail systems with its focus on search and conversation threading of emails, grouping several messages between two or more people onto a single page, an approach that was later copied by its competitors. Gmail’s user interface designer, Kevin Fox, intended users to feel as if they were always on one page and just changing things on that page, rather than having to navigate to other places.
Gmail’s interface also makes use of ‘labels’ (tags) – that replace the conventional folders and provide a more flexible method of organizing emails; filters for automatically organizing, deleting or forwarding incoming emails to other addresses; and importance markers for automatically marking messages as ‘important’.
In November 2011, Google began rolling out a redesign of its interface that “simplified” the look of Gmail into a more minimalist design to provide a more consistent look throughout its products and services as part of an overall Google design change. Majorly redesigned elements included a streamlined conversation view, configurable density of information, new higher-quality themes, a resizable navigation bar with always-visible labels and contacts, and better search. Users were able to preview the new interface design for months prior to the official release, as well as revert to the old interface, until March 2012, when Google discontinued the ability to revert and completed the transition to the new design for all users.
In May 2013, Google updated the Gmail inbox with tabs which allow the application to categorize the user’s emails. The five tabs are: Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums. In addition to customization options, the entire update can be disabled, allowing users to return to the traditional inbox structure.
In April 2018, Google introduced a new web UI for Gmail. The new redesign follows Google’s Material Design, and changes in the user interface include the use of Google’s Product Sans font. Other updates include a Confidential mode, which allows the sender to set an expiration date for a sensitive message or to revoke it entirely, integrated rights management and two-factor authentication.
In October 2019, Gmail was scheduled to get a dark mode for iOS and Android apps though the spokesperson said it was a limited roll out for Android 10 and iOS 11 users.
On 16 November 2020, Google announced new settings for smart features and personalization in Gmail. Under the new settings users were given control of their data in Gmail, Chat, and Meet, offering smart features like Smart Compose and Smart Reply.
On 6 April 2021, Google rolled out Google Chat and Room (early access) feature to all Gmail users.
Gmail’s spam filtering features a community-driven system: when any user marks an email as spam, this provides information to help the system identify similar future messages for all Gmail users.
In the April 2018 update, the spam filtering banners got a redesign, with bigger and bolder lettering.
The Gmail Labs feature, introduced on June 5, 2008, allows users to test new or experimental features of Gmail. Users can enable or disable Labs features selectively and provide feedback about each of them. This allows Gmail engineers to obtain user input about new features to improve them and also to assess their popularity.
Popular features, like the “Undo Send” option, often “graduate” from Gmail Labs to become a formal setting in Gmail.
All Labs features are experimental and are subject to termination at any time.
Gmail incorporates a search bar for searching emails. The search bar can also search contacts, files stored in Google Drive, events from Google Calendar, and Google Sites.
In May 2012, Gmail improved the search functionality to include auto-complete predictions from the user’s emails.
Gmail’s search functionality does not support searching for word fragments (also known as ‘substring search’ or partial word search). Workarounds exist.
Gmail supports multiple languages, including the Japanese interface shown here
As of March 2015, the Gmail interface supports 72 languages, including: Arabic, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (UK), English (US), Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Malayalam, Marathi, Norwegian (Bokmål), Odia, Polish, Punjabi, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog (Filipino), Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh and Zulu.
Language input styles
In October 2012, Google added over 100 virtual keyboards, transliterations, and input method editors to Gmail, enabling users different types of input styles for different languages in an effort to help users write in languages that aren’t “limited by the language of your keyboard.”
In October 2013, Google added handwriting input support to Gmail.
In August 2014, Gmail became the first major email provider to let users send and receive emails from addresses with accent marks and letters from outside the Latin alphabet.
Gmail’s “basic HTML” version works on almost all browsers. The modern AJAX version is officially supported in the current and previous major releases of Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge and Safari web browsers on a rolling basis.
In August 2011, Google introduced Gmail Offline, an HTML5-powered app for providing access to the service while offline. Gmail Offline runs on the Google Chrome browser and can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store.
In addition to the native apps on iOS and Android, users can access Gmail through the web browser on a mobile device.
Gmail running on Android
Gmail has native applications for iOS device (including iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) and for Android devices.
In November 2014, Google introduced functionality in the Gmail Android app that enabled sending and receiving emails from non-Gmail addresses (such as Yahoo! Mail and Outlook.com) through POP or IMAP.
In November 2016, Google redesigned the Gmail app for the iOS platform, bringing the first complete visual overhaul in “nearly four years”. The update added much more use of colors, sleeker transitions, and the addition of several “highly-requested” features, including Undo Send, faster search with instant results and spelling suggestions, and Swipe to Archive/Delete.
In May 2017, Google updated Gmail on Android to feature protection from phishing attacks. Media outlets noticed that the new protection was announced amid a widespread phishing attack on a combination of Gmail and Google’s Docs document service that occurred on the same day.
Later in May, Google announced the addition of “Smart Reply” to Gmail on Android and iOS. “Smart Reply”, a feature originally launched for Google’s Inbox by Gmail service, scans a message for information and uses machine intelligence to offer three responses the user can optionally edit and send. The feature is limited to the English language at launch, with additional support for Spanish, followed by other languages arriving later.
Inbox by Gmail, another app from the Gmail team, was also available for iOS and Androiddevices. It was discontinued in April 2019.
Third-party programs can be used to access Gmail, using the POP or IMAP protocols. In 2019, Google rolled out dark mode for its mobile apps in Android and iOS.
Inbox by Gmail
Main article: Inbox by Gmail
In October 2014, Google introduced Inbox by Gmail on an invitation-only basis. Developed by the Gmail team, but serving as a “completely different type of inbox”, the service is made to help users deal with the challenges of an active email. Citing issues such as distractions, difficulty in finding important information buried in messages, and receiving more emails than ever, Inbox by Gmail has several important differences from Gmail, including bundles that automatically sort emails of the same topic together, highlights that surface key information from messages, and reminders, assists, and snooze, that help the user in handling incoming emails at appropriate times.
Inbox by Gmail became publicly available in May 2015. In September 2018, Google announced it would end the service at the end of March 2019, most of its key features having been incorporated into the standard Gmail service.The service was discontinued on April 2, 2019.
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