Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from Wade Roush

Gmail: No Prank

There’s sufficient evidence that Google is serious about Gmail to warrant the retraction of my earlier blog post reporting the rumors that it was an April Fool’s joke. My apologies to fellow TR editor Patric Hadenius, who had it right…

  • April 1, 2004

There’s sufficient evidence that Google is serious about Gmail to warrant the retraction of my earlier blog post reporting the rumors that it was an April Fool’s joke. My apologies to fellow TR editor Patric Hadenius, who had it right from the beginning.

Beyond the exuberant tone of Google’s announcement and the extravagant amounts of free storage that will be available to Gmail users (1 gigabyte), the thing that initially struck me as most improbable about Gmail was that Google would try it in the first place. Most of the added functions Google has rolled out in the past, such as Froogle and Google News, were variations on the company’s industry-leading search capabilities. Gmail will highly searchable – but at its heart it’s simply a web-based e-mail program.

Others such as Internet consultant Robert Spears have questioned how well users will take to the fact that Gmail scans the text of their e-mails in order to place so-called “contextual ads.” But I’m more surprised that Google would venture so far beyond its core search offering, at the risk of diluting its brand. (Google’s own response to this issue is here.)

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.