Gmail is celebrating its 10th birthday today, after launching on April 1st, 2004 alongside Google’s ultimately doomed moon base project. The dark horse candidate of the two, Gmail turned out to be one of Google’s most successful enterprises. It was revolutionary at launch, with up to 25 MB attachments and an inbox design that didn’t look like a robot threw up undigested HTML on your screen.
Anyone that actually used it at launch knows it was invite only until February of 2007, which meant it was officially the nerdiest thing you could get invited to other than a game of “Magic: The Gathering.” Facebook would later adopt that same registration model with cool kids attending Ivy League schools looking for a way to better remember the people they wanted to have sex with.
Back in my day, before the rise of Gmail, we had to log into Yahoo! or one of the many shitty internet provider web mail clients for a web email account filled with spam and angsty teen poetry, and we liked it! Gmail had all those fancy spam filters and tagging of emails to make sure that those incredibly misleading emails providing false hope to teenage boys and single 40-somethings everywhere through “G1ANT P3NI5 PILLS MAKE ALL GIRL HAPPY” headlines.
I was a Gmail early adopter, and I still have my first Gmail account. The thing is now 10 years old and has about 20,000 unread emails in the inbox, but it still exists, which is both cool and terrifying. I went back through to the first email I actually sent with it. Here’s the text of that email:
Subject: AP Computer Science
I think I’ll hold off on the fuzzy twenty-sided dice for my car.
Thank God things have changed in the last 10 years.
Happy birthday, Gmail!
[image via Kinja]