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Happy 20th anniversay GMail! Everyone thought you were an April Fool’s Joke!

Once confused as an April Fool’s joke, Google’s GMail celebrates its 20th year in the industry. If you are from the Philippines, you will remember that before the days of GMail the Internet had to make do with Yahoo! and Hotmail email addresses — some even using the free Edsamail service because it didn’t need an Internet provider.

But GMail’s rise to viral fame could have been easily construed as an April Fool’s joke because it was offering 1GB of storage — something that no other email service offered at that time, and that many in the industry scoffed at for being too absurd. This was back in the day when a Hotmail email inbox would have to make space for every 30 or so emails and people could not really keep an archive of their precious chats.

GMail’s initial sign up form was also via an invite. Not everyone could sign up for this service and those who had early access were given 6 invites to send to friends. I remember in 2004 getting a GMail invite from one of my colleagues from M|PH Magazine, probably Jim Ayson. Email invites were so scarce at one point, I remember people willing to pay hundreds or even thousands of pesos to get access.

Are you still using your first GMail address today?