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Gmail in the News 693

roadies writes "Despite all the negativity and privacy concerns that surround Gmail, it has still gained cult-like status where net-d0rks feel self validated by having a gmail address and will do anything to get one. Services like the Gmail Machine, a randomized Gmail lotto that has people hitting refresh until they get carpel-tunnel in the index finger, reports over 7 million pageviews (though, definitely not uniques) in 3 days and 55 invites given away. They just added 222 more through donators who have given up invites in exchange for a text link on the high-traffic site. GmailSwap (covered recently on /.) has given away everything from cameras to good vibes. Good news for hardpressed geeks: The invites are becoming more and more available and mainstream. Ebay once had gmail invites going for a couple hundred dollars. Now, nobody is bidding on them anymore, so you can purchase one the old-fashioned eBay way for a dollar or two." Reader marklyon writes "Third party developers have stepped in with utilities that enhance and improve GMail. One utility, Mbox & Maildir to Gmail Loader allows users to upload their existing email to their GMail account. Another, POP Goes the GMail, offers the ability to access your GMail account with any POP mail reader, giving users the ability to permanently archive messages. GTray lives in your taskbar and alerts you to incoming messages. Other, more general programs, allow you to forward your Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail messages to your new GMail account. The question that remains, however, is whether Google will work with or against third party developers in GMail's future."
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Gmail in the News

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  • by Frisky070802 ( 591229 ) * on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:08PM (#9468434) Journal
    I got a gmail account relatively early (early in April) from a friend at Google. I use it mostly for mailing lists, not quite ready to put all my personal mail on it, especially when until this article I had no idea how to download Gmail for use when disconnected.

    Initially I got a couple of invitations I could give away, every couple of weeks, and it was easy to find close friends to give them to. Then I found I had seven invitations this week and had run out of obvious candidates. I tried gmailswap, but the interesting ones (like a pound of Kona coffee) went too quickly, and the others were uninteresting to me. So I sent a note to my orkut friends, and quickly had well over a dozen requests for accounts despite including a disclaimer pointing to [] :). I gave away the ones I had, and surprisingly got a few more the very next day. I still have a queue of about 5 people I owe accounts to.

    PS. This was a really, really nice Slashdot article, with a treasure trove of gmail information. Well done.

    • Somebody hook me up with a gmail code please. Contact me here []

      New deal processing engine online: []
    • My experience has been similar. For the most part, I've received 3 invites a week. This week I've received a total of nine to give away (all in the last 3 days), and I still have plently of people waiting at the doorstep for more. I'm half expecting to get somemore tonight....time will tell
    • by Kalgash ( 158314 ) <> on Friday June 18, 2004 @08:01PM (#9468876) Homepage Journal
      That gmail-is-creepy site is run by the dude who also runs the equally paranoid and whacked-out site.

      See Google-Watch Watch [] for details on the creepy paranoid dude and then go back and read his rantings with a large-ass grain of salt.

      For those who still think email is secure I got news for you: Your email is already exposed in plain text on just about any server it is sent to. If your email is ever relayed through a third party server (and a lot of mail is) then chances are an unscrupulous admin has already read your messages or at least stored a copy.

      What GMail does by comparison is relatively tame. The adds are inserted at display time. All email is parsed to more effectively block spam. No human will ever read your email.

      Don't take my word or the word of some kook with issues.

      Read the Gmail privacy policy []


      Email contents and usage. The contents of your Gmail account also are stored and maintained on Google servers in order to provide the service. Google's computers process the information in your email for various purposes, including formatting and displaying the information to you, delivering targeted related information (such as advertisements and related links), preventing unsolicited bulk email (spam), backing up your email, and other purposes relating to offering you Gmail. Because we keep back-up copies of data for the purposes of recovery from errors or system failure, residual copies of email may remain on our systems for some time, even after you have deleted messages from your mailbox or after the termination of your account. Google employees do not access the content of any mailboxes unless you specifically request them to do so (for example, if you are having technical difficulties accessing your account) or if required by law, to maintain our system, or to protect Google or the public.

      • Get a clue (Score:3, Informative)

        by Donny Smith ( 567043 )
        >For those who still think email is secure I got news for you: Your email is already exposed in plain text on just about any server it is sent to.

        So what - I don't care about any single email being exposed to someone's eyes. But I do worry if someone has access to ALL of my email all the time - I even wouldn't care if they would read it, but I do not like to be analyzed and profiled via content of my email.

        >No human will ever read your email.

        This is really a stupid argument - OF COURSE they won't b
    • by Slime-Half ( 669194 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @08:02PM (#9468888) Homepage Journal
      As suggested over at Wil Wheaton's blog [], 1 gig of space is a perfect amount for troops to recieve/send videos and other keep-in-touch files that other web accounts can't handle.

      From the entry []:

      Help spread the word about this effort, and keep checking back
      here [] for a link to the soon-to-be-built clearinghouse for requests.

      A worthy cause, I should think. Currently, I believe people are just looking over at gmailswap for service men and women to donate their invites to, until this 'clearinghouse' is created.

      I thought some slashdotters might be willing to participate.
    • I just openned my account a few minutes ago. Thanks for the "creepy" link, but they make it painstakingly clear about how they sort the data to target adds and the search capabilities. As I see it, they've basically added some rich features and changed everything to the point where it really doesn't feel like email anymore. Gmail may really spark some interesting new concepts in GUI email clients. Adding some of these abilities into Thunderbird or KMail might really end up benefiting users; and give'm a
    • by illumin8 ( 148082 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @09:10PM (#9469319) Journal
      ... and quickly had well over a dozen requests for accounts despite including a disclaimer pointing to :)

      I too am a Gmail beta user, and I've been very pleased with the service. Setup my .forward file to send a copy to my Gmail box, and set my reply-to address to be my private email, and I'm all set. Now I can switch between Gmail and on my Powerbook lickety split.

      I wanted to bring up something else that I just came across that was kind of strange. I agree that the people freaking out over adwords is a little over the top, but I found this article [] that brings up a very interesting point:

      "Moreover, like any e-mail provider, the text of your Gmail is stored and subject to subpoena. I can envision a situation where an advertiser, paying Google hundreds of thousands of dollars, claims that Google failed to "insert" its ads in relevant e-mails, or inserted a competitor's ads instead (or in addition to, or more prominently). In the course of the ensuing litigation, wouldn't both the ads themselves and the text of the messages into which they were inserted be relevant, and therefore discoverable? I can't imagine why not."

      I generally believe Google is a good company, but this argument actually got me thinking.
      • by Hektor_Troy ( 262592 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @07:19AM (#9471613)
        I highly doubt that. (IANAL, though).

        First, I'm fairly certain that YOUR privacy ranks WAY higher than any company's supposed "right" to a profit.

        Secondly, the only way the advetiser would find out is by setting up a mail account of their own, and then sending mail to themself, trying to find out wether or not it's working. They could then easily save copies of the web-views, and use those.

        Thirdly, such a lawsuit would be a civil matter, and I doubt that you can just get a judge to sign over a subpoena to go searching though million of people's mail. This relates to point number one.

        This is of course dependent on the legal system, and we've all seen that they're very keen on protecting our rights, right?
        • by illumin8 ( 148082 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @03:46PM (#9473792) Journal
          IANAL either, but...

          First, I'm fairly certain that YOUR privacy ranks WAY higher than any company's supposed "right" to a profit.

          This is simply not the case. When you agree to the terms of Google Mail, it specifically says that your email will be provided to any court if they are given a subpoena. Right to privacy be damned; if a court issues a subpoena, Google will pony up the data, rather than be found in contempt of court.

          Thirdly, such a lawsuit would be a civil matter, and I doubt that you can just get a judge to sign over a subpoena to go searching though million of people's mail. This relates to point number one.

          Yes, you can. In a civil matter, discovery allows both the plaintiff and defendant to subpoena corporate data and documents that apply to the case. If the case involved a dispute over adwords, the subpoena might very well include "the contents of all messages that triggered the customer's ads to appear." Google would have no choice but to comply.

          For an example of this, look at the SCO vs. IBM case. This is a civil matter as well, and both SCO and IBM have been subpoenaing millions of documents and source code and probably emails from each other as well.

          Having said all of that, I don't want you to think I'm paranoid or anything. I use Gmail every day now, and I don't really care if they read my email or not. The reason why is because email is going in plaintext over the wire every day and Carnivore is probably already reading everything I send and receive anyway. Who cares about Google reading my email? I'm much more worried about the FBI reading it and building a profile on me.
      • Ads aren't inserted into messages -- they're displayed alongside them, and can be different every time the message is displayed. If Google is actually recording which emails get which ads, they're wasting disk space and risking subpoenas like the one you describe, for NO reason.

        So no, I don't think that what you're saying is a possible result. All you could subpoena from Google is the emails they hold, the ads they're currently serving (with no connection between the two, because there IS none), and the nu
    • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @11:38PM (#9470344) Homepage
      Come on now, if you're going to grovel, be creative!

      There was a man without gmail
      Whose VAC could tell quite the tale
      his wife worked real hard
      to stack the punch cards
      but she died, and now he's in jail

      One gig, two gigs or three
      Gmail's the right size for me
      Don't be upset
      I read the usenet
      all archived, from 1903

      My Friendster, and his big gut
      has been reclusive somewhat
      Gmail requests
      he won't address
      I think that he moved to orkut

      I could be rich, without a doubt
      I found an unbeatable route
      this Nigerian guy
      wants a reply
      but I can't with my inbox maxed out

      My mailbox will always O flow
      inflators, fellators, you know
      I get lots of spam
      Thanks to my mam
      That woman named me Info

      Anyone have a spare invite for a clever guy?
  • Waning excitement (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SIGALRM ( 784769 ) * on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:08PM (#9468437) Journal
    it has still gained cult-like status

    OK, I was one of the sheeple who used to go a few times weekly to the gmail website [] to check things out.

    But I awoke earlier this week [] to my Yahoo premium account suddenly offering two, not one, gigabytes of email storage... and all without the (overblown) privacy concerns and advertising. *And* I only pay $19.95/yr. for it.

    I'm not (or at least don't need to be) interested in Gmail anymore. I've moved on and Yahoo has succeeded in taking the wind out of Gmail's sails, at least for me.
    • by Frisky070802 ( 591229 ) * on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:10PM (#9468455) Journal
      GMail offers 1GB for free, compared to 2GB for $20/yr. Maybe $20/yr isn't too much, but I think the free model still has some juice left. Not to mention the nice threading model and top-notch searching.
    • Re:Waning excitement (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MikeXpop ( 614167 )
      And I awoke a couple weeks ago to the fact that my webmail provider provides not one gig. Not two gigs. Not 5 gigs, but unlimited space. *And* I only pay $0 for it.
    • How do you think the spam filters work? Magic ESP SPAM detection?

      No, it scans your mail - just like GMail does when it's filtering SPAM of considering ads to feed up.

      The only email providers that do not scan mail are the ones that allow anything to pass.
    • by Psymunn ( 778581 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:46PM (#9468762)
      Man, I love it when people start whining about a computer searching their e-mail. So i guess yahoo dosen't have a spam filter then? What, hotmail has to parse the text of every e-mail before it determines that that message about penis extensions is spam. How do you think e-mail programs work out that not every mail saying 'Hey, haven't talked to you in a while' is spam
      G-mail's problem is not that it scans your e-mail, but rather that the good people are honest and upfront with what they are doing.
      I'm sure people would all be thrilled about a virus check if it was billed as 'automatic file parser.' Sure, it might seem weird having a conversation about your favorite jewish actor and getting an add for 'learn hebrew in 24 hours' but that's only because google is utilising what everyone else has. And their only crime was the niavety that people would find this useful. Had they said 'magic pixies work out what you want and sudgest how to get it, while you browse your e-mail,' the tinfoil hate wearing community would embrace it (after all, fairies can't get through tinfoil!).
      G-mail is a wonderful, not only because of the unprecedented amoutn of free space, but because of it's intuative and innovative features that help you organise your e-mail while still having that sexy, clean, not 'all up in yo' face' look google is so good for.
      If i had to chooose between microsoft and google, i pick the one who vows to 'do no evil' and, so far, has done nothing to make me think otherwise
  • But instead bought an old 1 GB harddrive on eBay for 50 cents.

  • By the time any normal person can accumulate 1GB worth of e-mail from a service starting today 1GB will be so fantastically cheap (they aren't already?) that it just won't matter.
  • by mekkab ( 133181 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:11PM (#9468462) Homepage Journal
    Got the invite, love the interface, can't view it from work.

    Still hanging on to my shell account.
  • Yahoo has retaliated (Score:5, Informative)

    by centralizati0n ( 714381 ) <tommy.york@gmai l . com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:12PM (#9468468) Homepage Journal
    Yahoo now offers 100 mb to all free accounts, and 2 gigabytes to premium accounts. I love competition.
  • and have been unable to get detailed information about the beta program, how are people that are paying or trading possesions certain that all the accounts won't disappear when the beta is over in order to start the program with a clean slate?
    • The idea was to have a G-mail account a few weeks ago. THAT was Geek Cool. Also, to grab a good name (Technolust found that someone else had snagged his name by the time he got an invite).

      Even if it's gone tommorrow- its all about being an early adopter.
  • by sulli ( 195030 ) * on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:12PM (#9468471) Journal
    And if it's offered to the likes of me, it can't bt that cool. (I was a very brief user of Adwords.)

    My impression: It's nice webmail. That's it.

    I don't see the huge hype, but then again I did click on that invite link, didn't I?

  • by los furtive ( 232491 ) <ChrisLamothe@gmai l . com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:12PM (#9468472) Homepage
    I've you'd like a Gmail account, send me an email at [mailto] and as I get invites I'll hook you up. I've hooked up 18 people this week alone.

    What I noticed was that as soon as Yahoo announced they were upping their email limit, Gmail started letting me invite about 5 people a day.

    Understand that I already have a backlog of 10 slashdotters waiting for accounts, but I labeled them all and as the invites trickle in, I'll pass them friends and family and irc buddies are already hooked up.


  • by CdBee ( 742846 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:13PM (#9468474)
    .. would be Google Messenger.
    Use Gmail address as a login ID, use it to capture the business IM and email market
  • Use (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward has free hosting, 1GB of email, none of the privacy concerns of gmail, and a very easy to use site.

    And it existed before gmail
    • Ugh. please. go USE a service before promoting it.

      Spymac may have 1GB of mail, but the site is FAR from easy to use. It's the definition of bloat, and in the 2 months I tried to use it has been down too often when I've really needed webmail, that I just stopped using it.

      Spymac has some good features on paper, pity the implementation isn't there.
  • The GMail Market (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rie Beam ( 632299 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:15PM (#9468495) Journal

    One thing I noticed about GMail was that it was, at least for a short time, a small commercial market within itself. The market ebbed and flowed depending on if invites had become availble that day or not. Originally, there were few accounts, and I managed to snatch one up thanks to my Blogger account - while it lasted, my invites were gold. Before the market "crashed" a few weeks ago, I managed to get unlimited virtual hosting and some nude pictures from a college CS girl who wanted one for "geek cool". My, it was great.

    Of course, then the market crashed. So now GMail Swap and others are worthless. But I've been using my invites for another purpose now - I currently have 30 GMail addresses to my name, including some interesting ones. I figure, although the rarity may not exist in having an account, the rarity could exist in having the account you want. Commercialism rises again.

    • by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @08:11PM (#9468962) Journal
      I think it's worth pointing out that having more than one Gmail account is currently against the Gmail's terms of service.

      From the Gmail Help Center:
      Can I have multiple accounts?

      While we test Gmail, we're gathering information and feedback from a
      diverse group of users to polish our product. As stated in the Gmail
      Program Policies, a Gmail user is allowed to open one Gmail account.

      Each invitation link is valid for creating only one account. With
      1,000 megabytes of storage per account, we hope you'll have enough
      room to store all necessary messages and information.

      If you would like to read more of our policies, please
      visit: html.

      Thank you for your helping us improve Gmail.
      So, unless you've covered your tracks very well, don't expect to hold onto those accounts. I know of at least one case where a user who made more than one account had all his accounts shut down.

      Gmail is currently in beta. Use of that beta is a priviledge, not a right, so abusing it is the quickest way to find yourself locked out.
    • by ajayrockrock ( 110281 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @08:33PM (#9469118) Homepage
      ...I managed to get unlimited virtual hosting...

      Are you sure about that? Your site [] has a big ass "This Account Has Been Suspended" page on it. :)

  • by furball ( 2853 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:19PM (#9468540) Journal
    The success of Gmail is not the amount of space. That's called a gimmick. The success of Gmail is its searchability.

    In the long run, having a gig of mail is pointless if you can't find what you're looking for. Assume you can have all the space in the world and you didn't delete a single email. How will you find the email sent sometime ago that you can't remember from a girl you can't remember who conversed with you on craigslist [] but you did remember her fantasy about being your naughty bukkake star?

    You can't! Not without search.
  • Can someone manage a mirror for the GTray file []? Sounds handy.
  • (somewhat OT, but you can't or shouldn't move your work email to gmail, so...)

    For those of you who want powerful search of your 10000s of messages locked up in a work exchange server, try Lookout soft []. I've used it with about 12000 messages on the exchange server and local outlook folders, and never had a search take more than 0.2 seconds. Still free while in beta mode.
  • by jcull ( 789506 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:21PM (#9468564)
    Wil Wheaton [clevernickname] is working on a project to donate Gmail invites to soldiers serving overseas who all have Hotmail which sucks. Go to his weblog entry [] for the skinny.
  • ...what the big deal is? What on earth is Google going to offer me above what my plain ol' POP3/IMAP + Opera/Pegasus/whatever client already offers? What's it going to offer that my freebie Operamail account doesn't offer?

    Maybe I'm not one of the cool kids. Seems to me that all my computing is done on my laptop, and having *all* my important mail (ie. the university account, my permanent email address) POP3'd to my laptop is just *perfect*. I can search it six ways to Sunday, it's always here, it's on
  • Advantage: Fast (Score:2, Informative)

    by jvagner ( 104817 )
    The interface is really fast. A lot of functions don't require real page re-loads.

    I do need to check POP mail (IMAP would be grand), but I realize they're probably holding off on that until the real release.

    I'm glad someone values keyboard commands again.
  • Just got my GMail account yesterday. Had already sent off an email to my contacts telling them my exclusive new email address. Then I found out GMail doesn't support the Opera browser (or vice versa) yet. Bummer, I love Opera like I love my family. So I download this Pop Goes The GMail program, and it is sorely disappointing. I haven't checked it with other clients, but it doesn't seem to function well at all with Opera's mail client. Hotmail Popper was fantastic in it's compatability and reliability.
  • by Axem ( 713217 )
    I see Gmail as a novelty item right now. More of a way for people to brag about their gig of email. My pop3 account holds 15 meg, which is enough since I only give it out to personal friends (and the Dilbert Newsletter ;-)). I use hotmail for registering for services and all the spam goes there. I am muchly content with my non-Gmail services.
  • by Mean_Nishka ( 543399 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:31PM (#9468642) Homepage Journal
    What I like most about Gmail is its ability to have a 'reply-to' option in the setup screen. I was using a cranky old IMAP account on my web hosting provider which was proving to be a nuisance (and I had far from a gig of storage!).

    Since I am a Treo user, I still valued having the ability to check my account from my phone. But I also really liked the Gmail interface when I was at my desktop. So here's what I did:

    I was pleased to see that Google allows you to override the reply-to address, so I immediately changed that to my current email address.

    I then deleted my IMAP account and set up a mail forwarding alias that directs any incoming messages to my Gmail account as well as a pop account on the hosting provider's server.

    I use the POP account to check mail from my Treo, and it also gets picked up by my Outlook client for permanent archiving.

    The best part is I was able to switch my email exclusively to Gmail without anyone noticing the switch. This is top notch stuff.. Google has done something extraordinary here.

  • When? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:34PM (#9468664) Homepage Journal
    When it will be out of beta? when it will allow non-invite subscriptions? When they will consider "its ready"?

    They are making their webmail a playfield like is the domain name ownership one, and if it last months a to have really big webmail mailboxes, ligth webpages, intelligent spam/virus filtering and threaded mail view will be so common than when it will be finally out could be no news.

    I even wonder if in the open source webmail market not exist already one that provides a good part of what gmail will give who knows when.

    At this moment i would open the registration in gmail, not by invitation, but at will, still leave there the "beta" mark to show that still could be rough edges, but to accaparate the market before is too late. What if i.e. the actual Teoma [] come out around the same time google started? still google would be the #1?

    Well, anyway, i could be wrong, not tested yet so i can't say how hard or easy could be duplicated with advantages, but so far for non-users is almost vapourware.

  • I've been experimenting with a Python interface to Gmail. Just released version 0.1 [] today. Hope it's helpful to someone.
  • I think they will (Score:2, Interesting)

    by daishin ( 753851 )
    The question that remains, however, is whether Google will work with or against third party developers in GMail's future.
    Provided that the things such as the POP3 forwarder do not circumvent the ads which are highly non-intrusive, and which Google relys on a good deal.
  • That python script to transfer your mbox files to gmail doesn't work very well. I'm trying it on the unix machines at my office and it won't read my mbox files...sigh, I don't really want to screw around with the source code now...maybe I will try it at home.
  • PGP Anyone (Score:5, Informative)

    by eyeota ( 686153 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:54PM (#9468821)
    If you're really paranoid, just PGP your messages. Granted there's no direct plugin I know of yet, but I'm sure it's about to come. Then again there's always c&p into your email.

    The propensity for unencrypted emails to be read and intercepted has existed on the net, but people just ignored the possibility or figured the probability of it happening them is low.

    If it bothers you there's an indefinate log of your email, encrypt it--So what if google shows you nothing by PGP ads on the right side of your screen ?

  • by Zone-MR ( 631588 ) * <slashdot&zone-mr,net> on Friday June 18, 2004 @08:03PM (#9468903) Homepage
    Slashdotting a site which encourages users to repeatedly hit refresh?

    A new low, or were they just asking for it? ;)
  • by PureFiction ( 10256 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @08:08PM (#9468936)
    Please send me an email to coderman at with your first and last name, and email address (this is for the form).

    I will reply with your current position in the queue of people wanting an invite, and when I get more invitations (currently 5 every one to three days) I'll send you one.

    All I ask is this:
    1. Please tell me if you get invited before your turn in queue, otherwise I will waste an invitation.
    2. Please don't sell this invite, or sell the invites you subsequently get from your own account.

    People who sell or extort for invites lack integrity and are selfish. Don't be that kind of person.
  • by jemenake ( 595948 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:35PM (#9469921)
    One of the links in the main story has *another* link to One of the things that page mentions is that many people (aside from not wanting a GMail account for themselves) are electing to never *send* mail to GMail, for fear that it will get permanently archived forever.

    So, I guess it's inevitable that someone's going to make a site that lets you send to GMail while avoiding it. Imagine checking your GMail and getting a message saying:
    You have received a piece of mail which the sender does not want archived by the GMail servers. Click Here to read it...
    which would be a link to a web page which held the message for, say, two weeks. The service could be set up as a mail relayer, of sorts, where it would be easy to reply to GMail people. For example, the site could be, say, Then, when replying to someone at GMail, you just add "not" to the address and the service would handle saving your message (only for two weeks, remember) and sending the real Gmail recipient the notice that they've got mail waiting.

    I'm surprised that something like this isn't here already. Just imagine GMail's archives getting flooded with "You have received....".
  • by FLoWCTRL ( 20442 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @11:11PM (#9470189) Journal

    Google owns Orkut [], [], the largest search engine on the 'net, and is now offering free, high quality web-based email accounts with a gig of storage. Except for a few lone voices [], I haven't seen any serious discussion about why this huge corporation is spending so much resources on providing these services for free.

    The advertising revenue couldn't possibly amount to a significant fraction of the costs involved with these services. The value must lie in the personal information that people are donating to Google, Inc.. What are their plans for it? They obviously plan to datamine it - but how will and how can it be used? What new knowledge can be generated by correlating and cross-referencing your orkut, blogger, gmail and google search information?

    It is troublesome that it seems to be popular and hip to be totally unconcerned about privacy []. Attitudes like "we have none anyways" seem to prevail, and its funny to criticize those who voice some concern as tinfoil-hat-black-helicopter-seeing schitzos. It looks like people have forgotten that privacy matters []. Like many other companies [] that try to collect personal information, Google's privacy policy [] is subject to change at any time. This makes it almost meaningless! It is effectively the same as saying, "We respect your privacy right at this moment, so have complete trust in us. Tomorrow we might change our minds."

    • by CaptainSuperBoy ( 17170 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @12:13AM (#9470509) Homepage Journal
      Read their SEC filings, then tell me they're not making any money on ads. There's also no shortage of "serious discussion" about the perceived harms of Google - if you've never seen GoogleWatch then you haven't been looking too hard.

      The complaints are garbage. Same old "oh no their cookie doesn't expire til 2038" bullshit. No idea why you people target Google when every other website shows ads too, has the same privacy policy, and has the same expiration date on their cookies. I guess you just like to be contrarian.
  • by CaptainTux ( 658655 ) <> on Saturday June 19, 2004 @02:06AM (#9470948) Homepage Journal
    I have a few GMail invites laying around and would like to trade one of them for an MP3 player. Doesn't have to be an IPod but just one with decent storage space and easy to use. Email me if interested.


  • by valmont ( 3573 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @05:47AM (#9471468) Homepage Journal

    hey all, i keep getting new invites on a fairly regular basis, if you just head-on over to my blog [], find the "GMail Invites" post and add a comment with some info as to why u want a gmail account and a valid email address (feel free to use creative obfuscation to protect yourselves from spam crawler bots).

    I can't guarantee you an invite but your chances should be pretty good. I'll favor in that order (mostly), people who have a blog on, people who have at least bothered to register with to place comments, people I've marked as /. friends, people who've marked me as their friend, unless i change my mind :)

  • by Sunspire ( 784352 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @06:21AM (#9471527)
    Google is giving out GMail invites like candy at the moment, you can get anywhere from 3-10 invites every other day or so (at least I do). Of course every invite you use is recorded, since it adds the inviters address to the invitees contact list automatically. With this by-invitation-only strategy they've managed to drum up an amazing amount of hype and discussion on blogs, mailing lists and message boards all over the net. Of course it also helps that GMail, in it's true Google-like fashion, is pretty damn good. That means there's a high demand for it, it's the latest in-thing and you don't want to be left out.

    So, with everyone inviting their friends, who in turn invite their friends and so on, Google is sitting on a gold-mine that would make any data-miner drool. They've probably got the biggest social networking dataset ever compiled right now. I'm just thankful it's Google and not Hotmail or Yahoo. As someone else already said, the 1GB storage is just a gimmick, it's the Google brand that matters.
  • Gmailmachine results (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jahf ( 21968 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @11:23AM (#9472382) Journal
    I wrote a 2 minute script (perl and wget are our friends) and let it run overnight. Their server started out really speedy, then started getting laggy so I shortened wget's timeout to 60 seconds (900 seconds? please :)

    During this run the chances went from 30,000:1 to 50,000:1 to 100,000:1 :)

    Results ... over approximately 10 hours the script iterated just under 30,000 times before getting an invite, which averaged out 50 hits per minute for me. If you assume most of the heavy hitters had a similar script (maybe, maybe not) running for the same time period where the server got 20,000,000 hits, that means 666 scripters ;)

    NOTE: I made my script relatively friendly ... only 1 process at a time, it gave the server a minute to respond, and it slept for 1 second between requests. No forked processes, no running as fast as it can. Did I defeat the "feel" of the process, sure, but someone had to be expecting it because there was nothing in the HTML that made this at all difficult. This means I would guess I could have gotten closer to 1 hit per second if I'd -tried- but there didn't seem like much point.

    I want to give a HEARTY congratulations for having a server with a dynamic page that took the load like a champ. No images had to help, but it was still pumping out >5K per request at 550-600 requests per second. Not an amazing feat technically, just good planning, but appreciated. I was quite surprised to see it had made it through the night (my invite came @ 8:30am, almost exactly when I woke to the thought of "hey, wonder if I got an invite?", maybe I accidentally invoked Telepathy::Broadcast).

    And before someone goes "why did you waste your time for a freakin Gmail account", I spent 5 * the time needed to write the script to write this post ... it is /. where my behavior is unexplainable :)
  • For those of you who are interested. It's called G-Mailto.

    It is really simple. It associates mailto: html links with GMail. So when you see a link like this on the web: [mailto]

    You can click it and have the GMail compose window open up instead of something like Outlook Express that doesn't work with GMail. If you are not logged in to GMail it will bring you to the login screen and then redirect you to the Compose Page.

    I'm using it right now on my Windows XP machine and it works perfectly. Supposedly works fine on Win9x/ME as well.

    It's free, open-source, comes with an installer/uninstaller, and you can always switch back and forth between using it from your control panel. Under Internet Options > Programs Tab > Email. After you install G-Mailto, it will be in that list along with any other mail program you use.

    Anyway, if you're interested, I put it up on my site: []

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