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Google Aims to Put Free Storage Gigabytes in the Hands of the People

Google Aims to Put Free Storage Gigabytes in the Hands of the People



It may not be certain any longer whether or not Google will complete an IPO this year, but it now looks certain to be entering the free e-mail market.

Offering better anti-spam software than Yahoo Mail and Hotmail and other rivals, and throwing in 1GB of storage, Google is aiming - once the preview has been tweaked - to launch "Gmail" later this year.

"Unlike other free webmail services, Gmail is built on the idea that users should never have to file or delete a message, or struggle to find an email they've sent or received," Larry Page, Google co-founder and president, told the Financial Times (FT).

The FT comments:

"This is Google's latest step in its push away from being a mere search engine towards taking on the world's biggest Internet portals, following moves into news and Froogle, a comparative shopping tool."

The preview registration for GMail is here.

"If a Google user has a problem with e-mail, well, so do we," said Google co-founder and president of technology, Sergey Brin. "And while developing Gmail was a bit more complicated than we anticipated, we're pleased to be able to offer it to the user who asked for it."

CNN.com comments:

"Put in real-world terms, Gmail's one gigabyte of free storage could hold the equivalent of a pick-up truck filled with books, where Yahoo's four free megabytes could not quite handle the complete works of William Shakespeare."

The Sydney Morning Herald, in Sydney, Australia, where it's already April 2, reports:

But there's a catch to the new service announced today - Google's computers will scan emails to deliver targeted advertising.

NBC's Channel 13 joins the speculation:

"Google has long exhibited a quirky sense of humor about itself and its technology. One example of this is Pigeon Rank, a page on Google, which claims its search results are compiled using large numbers of trained pigeons. Then there is the recent job listing for the Google Copernicus Center, which claims the company is hiring staff for a new lunar hosting and research center, to be opened in 2007.

Skeptics also note that the press release announcing the service on Business Wire is dated March 31 at 7:05 p.m., which is also just past midnight GMT."

So far, Google has been declining to comment further on Gmail, referring all questions to the company's official press release announcing the service.

Among the clues that awake suspicion in many, though, is this, from the Gmail FAQ (italics ours):

Is Gmail available in other languages?

During this testing period, the Gmail interface is only available in English. However, we're committed to making Gmail available to as many people in as many languages as possible. And Gmail accounts can already be used to read and send email in most languages (even Klingon).


Nonetheless Reuters is reporting Google's vice president of products, Jonathan Rosenberg, as saying:

"Gmail is not a hoax...We are very serious about Gmail."

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SYS-CON's Security News desk trawls the world of security for news of software, hardware, products, and services that seems likely to be of interest to infosec professionals and summarizes them for easy assimilation by busy IT managers and staff.

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