Almost three years after its launch, Gmail is now available to all comers. Google continues to refer to the e-mail app as a beta product.
When the Gmail launched on April Fool's Day in 2004 and offered 1GB of storage, a lot of folks thought Google was pulling their leg. After all, Hotmail and Yahoo only offered 2MB.
But Gmail, which now offers almost 3GB of storage, ended up redefining how Web users think of e-mail applications and hinted that Google would be an app-building powerhouse. Hotmail and Yahoo have scrambled to catch up.
Gmail's debut ruffled a lot of feathers, though. Privacy advocates were taken aback by Google's intent to sell ads on e-mails. Those concerns are perhaps even more valid now, given the number of applications Google offers to the public.
Google has had some problems with Gmail lately, most notably in Germany where it lost a trademark case. The app is now called Google Mail in the UK and Germany.