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Google Businesses The Internet

Google Opens Gmail To All 231

Reader Russian Art Buyer lets us know that GMail is now open for all ("Google Mail" in the UK). The service is no longer by invitation only. This welcome page shows an ever-increasing amount of storage available per user, currently about 2,815 MB.
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Google Opens Gmail To All

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  • Capacity drop? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Short Circuit ( 52384 ) * <> on Thursday February 08, 2007 @10:55AM (#17934042) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if we'll see a drop in storage capacity with the increased number of users.

    Also, my GMail account still says I only have 73 invites left. If it's open, why don't they drop the limited number of invites?
    • Re:Capacity drop? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by THE anonymus coward ( 92468 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @11:01AM (#17934126) Homepage
      I doubt we will see a drop in capacity at this point. Everyone who wants a gmail account has had it for at least a year now, so I don't think many will come who haven't come yet.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Most people I meet on campus have never even heard of GMail.

        With Google holding the top search engine spot, they need only add a link to GMail to the search page, and they'll get millions more users.
        • by mfh ( 56 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @11:48AM (#17934682) Homepage Journal

          Most people I meet on campus have never even heard of GMail.

          Where do you go? Remind me never to hire any of those uninformed tech grads!
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by ubergenius ( 918325 )
            Seriously. No offense to wherever you go, but I know of no one... Literally, not a single person... who does not have a Gmail account, much less heard of Gmail.
      • Re:Capacity drop? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by LoverOfJoy ( 820058 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:07PM (#17936482) Homepage
        Not everyone knows they want one yet. Others want one but aren't sure it's worth the price of dealing with a shift in addresses. My brother just recently accepted my invitation to gmail after getting fed up with all the ads on hotmail. I'd invited him long ago but he didn't want to have to tell everyone of his new email address. He's gotten to the point where it's worth switching and just occasionally checking up on his old address for the few that never got the notice of his change in address.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Everyone who wanted one and was already looking for an email account has one. However, that doesn't include all the people (particularly teenagers) that decide they need an email account of their own now. They'll probably turn to the place they've grown up using for search, Google. And now it's easy to get an account on a whim.
    • Come on. I can't think of anybody who wasn't able to get a GMail account. If a large number of users necessitated a drop in storage, it would have happened a long time ago.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by harves ( 122617 )
        I agree there won't be a large drop in storage space, but...

        I would expect there's a large number of people who don't have the option of using gmail. Remember, everyone you know, probably knows you; if they wanted GMail access they would ask you for an invite. What of those slowly-entering-the-technology-age households who don't have anyone they can easily ask? You know, the kind of people you *don't* hang out with? There's got to be a decent number.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MMC Monster ( 602931 )
          Most people don't ask for invitations to new email systems. They use what they have or try to register a new one. GMail in the U.S. has been open so long as you have a valid (cell?) phone number, which is pretty good penetration.

          If someone wants a new service (particularly for increased storage), they would likely have heard about the increased storage (compared to what they had in the past, at least) at Yahoo mail and Hotmail as well.
    • by rm999 ( 775449 )
      Getting an invite has been pretty much trivial for about 2 years now. They know this, so they didn't even remember to remove the invites. I don't think anyone who wants gmail doesn't have it at this point.
  • Just checked... (Score:5, Informative)

    by nathan s ( 719490 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @10:57AM (#17934078) Homepage
    ...and I don't see any way to sign up other than the "use your mobile" promotion that they've had going for a while. There's no link from TFA either.
  • Not really (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Monty845 ( 739787 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @11:00AM (#17934118)
    Maybe the submitter has a different definition of all than I, but Gmail still requires either an invation or the ability to receive text messages. While the number of people who can't get text messages may be small, there are still many people who cannot sign up.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bad_fx ( 493443 )
      Check again - they seem to have removed the requirement to receive the text message...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Monty845 ( 739787 )
        Maybe you should read the FAQ: "Can I sign up without the invitation code? Or without a mobile phone? You need to receive and enter a special invitation code in order to create an account. Currently, we are only sending these codes as text messages to mobile phones. So you will need to have a mobile phone with text message capabilities (most phones have this) and the invitation code itself. One of the reasons we are offering this new way to sign up for Gmail is to help protect our users and combat abuse.
        • Re:Not really (Score:5, Informative)

          by jbarr ( 2233 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @11:54AM (#17934748) Homepage

          Maybe you should read the FAQ...
          Their FAQ pages have not been updated yet. As with almost all previous Gmail enhancementsit takes time to roll things out globally. When I navigate to using IE7 or Firefox, I see a nice "Sign up for Gmail" panel with a link that takes you right to a signup screen--no invitation is necessary. (Now, I'm using a company proxy that hits the Internet in Europe, so YMMV depending on your location.)

          Give it a day or so, and you should see the non-invitation link.
          • Re:Not really (Score:5, Informative)

            by jbarr ( 2233 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @12:52PM (#17935498) Homepage
            Per a user on the "Gmail Users" Google Groups, this may be only for certain non-United States locations. When I connect to Gmail from my home in the USA, I only get the SMS screen, but when I connect through my office (through a company proxy that hits the Internet in France) I get the non-invitation screen.
    • by wpegden ( 931091 )
      There's also the issue of privacy. Both methods of signing up make it difficult to set up an "anonymous" gmail account.
      • Re:Not really (Score:5, Informative)

        by montyzooooma ( 853414 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @11:46AM (#17934652)
        But if you're signing up for a gmail account you're already trading a certain amount of privacy away anyway.
    • Re:Not really (Score:5, Informative)

      by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Thursday February 08, 2007 @11:26AM (#17934410) Homepage Journal

      Gmail still requires either an invation or the ability to receive text messages.

      I haven't read the CNN article linked here, but I did read the article on my Wii last night. The long and short of it is that signup is geographically limited. Just about everyone not in North America is now able to sign up without going through the text message routine. The Google spokepeople have promised that North America will follow "soon".

      Hope that clarifies things.
    • by kabocox ( 199019 )
      Maybe the submitter has a different definition of all than I, but Gmail still requires either an invation or the ability to receive text messages. While the number of people who can't get text messages may be small, there are still many people who cannot sign up. []

      What if I don't have any intention of giving google my telephone number? Well, I don't want there service anyways.

      I signed up for this service sometime around 98 and they only know what I filled out in t
    • While the number of people who can't get text messages may be small

      You mean like everybody who relies on a land-line phone because they don't want to pay $360 per year extra?

      • by kv9 ( 697238 )

        you've maid about three posts whining about how expensive mobiles are. we get it. you're not fond of mobiles. how about this: get someone to send you an invite if you really want GMail, or just use another mail provider if it's not worth the hassle. Google products are not mandatory on teh internets.

        and as the article states, and several other posters have mentioned, the service is now open for the masses. it may just take a while until the changes propagate to all the gajillions of servers.

  • How does gmail compare to fastmail? I've been using a fastmail account (the kind where you pay once to set it up and it's free thereafter) to consolidate my emails for years and it's ok but it's gradually being overwhelmed by the amount of spam I get. How does gmail stack up, especially in the area of spam killing? Does anyone have both?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jrwr00 ( 1035020 )
      as you can tell i show my email address on /.
      and the spame filter work well, i get some 5K in spam and MAYBE 1 email will get past
    • Re:Fastmail (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nimloth ( 704789 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @11:14AM (#17934286)
      I do have both except I pay for the Enhanced account at Fastmail. GMail doesn't compare in terms of features, with Fastmail offering full Sieve scripting, I've got my domain hosted and sieve lets me do pretty much everything I ever wanted to do with email. It's also great for managing spam.
      Fastmail lets me use webDAV to access my file storage, and I just love IMAP/IDLE support. With Fastcheck installed that monitors my mailbox with IDLE, the notification often pops up before I get it on my Blackberry (PUSH-based), something Exchange has never managed to do at work.
      I get loads of spam in my GMail even though I've never given it to anyone, which I think speaks for itself. 1 or 2 spams a week with Fastmail and I've had it for 8+ years.
      • by maeka ( 518272 )

        I get loads of spam in my GMail even though I've never given it to anyone, which I think speaks for itself. 1 or 2 spams a week with Fastmail and I've had it for 8+ years.

        Odd, I have two unpublished GMail accounts, and in their seventeen months of life they haven't received over a dozen spams total.
        The other reply to your post said that GMail has an undocumented feature where improperly addressed mail is delivered to the "nearest neighbor" - a feature (if true) I find offputting - but assuming it is true pe

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by slumberer ( 859696 )
      Yeah I have both and personally I have fastmail set up to just forward my email to gmail. It's a matter of preference but I find the gmail interface a lot easier to use than the fastmail one. As far as spam goes gmail does a great job of stopping it from getting to my inbox.

      The reason that I still use the fastmail account is because it still checks my other email accounts - especially my hotmail account - that I have stopped using but still have the odd email sent to. Gmail doesn't offer the same way
    • i love gmail (Score:5, Informative)

      by teh_chrizzle ( 963897 ) <{kill-9} {at} {}> on Thursday February 08, 2007 @11:44AM (#17934620) Homepage

      i'll be the first to admit that i am a pretty serious google fanboy and i haven't used a fastmail account so proceed with caution.

      i have two public access unix accounts, one on SDF [] and one on hobbiton [] (hobbiton stopped being public access like 6 years ago). two years ago there was a sudden astronomical increase in the amount of spam that i was getting on both accounts. both systems had not yet set up greylisting or some other anti-spam measures and so i was worried that i would have to abandon an email address that i have had for almost 10 years.

      i got a gmail invite from a friend and set up my new account, and gmail has an option where you can choose to send mail as another account and make that the default method for sending mail, so i set up my gmail account to send as the two unix accounts and then added the gmail address to a .forward for each shell account.

      so now i use gmail as the central store for all of my email. now that both shell accounts have graylisting and other spam filtering i take advantage of that PLUS gmail's ability to bucket spam, so i have not seen a spam email in something like 6 months. i could go back to the old way (i look really oldschool using ssh to check my mail with pine) but i have become so lazy and spoiled thanks to gmail that there is no real reason to go back.

      so, if you want to keep your old address and switch to gmail, it is possible, provided your old provider has some means for you to forward your mail.

    • GMail seems to do a pretty good job of spam filtering - I can't recall getting any spam that wasn't detected and put into my spam folder, although I have to say that Optimum Online (having been though a couple of spam filtering revisions) now do a very good job also. The worst spam filter is Mozilla mail, which despite my "training" it daily since day one still lets large volumes of spam though every day.

      I guess being a giant provider of e-mail puts you in a good position to do filtering since you could (in
    • I have both. I mainly use Fastmail because it has IMAP support and none of the annoying POP3 quirks of GMail.
      From a spam point of view, I find both very effective, but it might be because I use the account where you have to pay $20 every year, which supposely offers enhanced spam protection.
    • I have both, and I strongly prefer FM over gmail.

      FM simply offers more flexibility. IMAP lets me access my mail in a variety of email clients, or using the web interface, and always see the same mail in the same folders. I could use POP to access it if I wanted. Same thing with the server-side filtering. I routinely access my mail from, Thunderbird, the web interface, and sometimes Outlook, using a variety of computers. For some things the web interface works better. For others a mail client is bet
  • It's about time... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jsight ( 8987 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @11:02AM (#17934148) Homepage
    Now if only they would add IMAP support and improve security, they might have a chance of being successful with Google for Domains.
    • by gkhan1 ( 886823 )
      If by "improving your security", you mean that they don't use SSL when reading your mail, you are sadly mistaken. You can use SSL, they make it optional. If you go to [] instead of just [] (note the https), you get SSL all the way. If you meant "doesn't use PGP", well, no web-mail provider does. Use a client instead.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jsight ( 8987 )
        It's a major weakness that I have to use a client for S/MIME capability, but they don't support the best protocol for doing this (IMAP).

        With regards to SSL, my issues there mostly apply to Google for domains. As far as I know, they don't allow you to mandate SSL for that either, and that is a weakness in an environment where you can't always trust your users to access with optional security every time.
        • by gkhan1 ( 886823 )
          I can't speak really about google for domains, but if you run that, shouldn't you be able to just redirect the standard portal to the secure one? However, I know nothing about it, so I bow to your knowledge. As for per-mail security I use GnuPG and Thunderbird over POP and I don't have any problem with it (and I get a fuckload of mail). I realize IMAP is better, but surely POP is "good enough" for most circumstances?
  • Surge in users? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EveryNickIsTaken ( 1054794 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @11:05AM (#17934194)
    Great. Now we get to see how Gmail handles thousands of accounts being created just to send out spam.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @11:07AM (#17934216) Journal
    First get all the data of the users into its servers, relatively easily, cheaply and painlessly. Like Word5' importing WordPerfect or Excel importing Lotus123 without any hitch. Once all the data is safely collected MS increased the switching costs and made it nearly impossible to get back to the competitors. Till date it keeps changing file formats, macro language, APIS, look and feel and tries enshrine even the bugs in Word5 as the new "standard" "open" document format!!!

    In the case of Google, it will find increasing the switching costs to get out of gmail not very easy. Reason are:

    1. It uses a simple browser as its interface and it does not have the same level of control over http protocols and XML protocols MS enjoyed over Windows platform.

    2. Users have become more aware of these issues. The resurgence of OpenOffice and fandom of Firefox shows that.

    3. Google says its motto is "dont do evil" and atleast part of its fan base is taking it at face value.

    Overall, IMHO, if google wrests significant portion of the data from the clutches of MS and shows how advantageous it could be for companies and users to keep their data in a format with eye on the switching costs it would benefit the consumers.

    • by thue ( 121682 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @11:36AM (#17934544) Homepage
      Google is actually "not being evil" here, by making it easy to extract your email.

      Just go to "settings"->"forwarding and pop" and select "Enable POP for all mail (even mail that's already been downloaded)". You can then download a copy of all the mail to your computer using a normal email client (You can choose to keep a copy on gmail). You can also get all mail automatically forwarded to an outside email address.

      That makes it easy to switch email provider; I used it the other day to download a copy of all my email, just in case. It seems to me that Google has chosen not to lock in users, but to simply try retain customers by being better. Which is the way it should be, and which makes me more comfortable relying on google services in the future.

      Regards, Thue
      • by mgblst ( 80109 )
        Yes, this is ok. I still wish they had a backup option, that would save all your messages into a big file for you to store somewhere. That would be perfect.
        • Download everything with POP3 using your favorite email client, then zip up the folder. I don't think there's any universal format for email aside from mbox, so this is about as easy as it gets.
          • by lahvak ( 69490 )
            Actually, if you really use mbox format, you will have all your mail in one file. If you use MH or another folder based format (IMHO better than mbox), you will end up with a folder. Either way, you can bzip2 the file or tar and bzip2 the folder for archiving purposes. And most of standard email clients will be able to access either of them.
          • by cobbaut ( 232092 )
            You are all forgetting that with Gmail pop access you DO NOT get your "Sent Mail", only the Inbox.
            I would like to see an option to have a local backup copy of All Mail, not just the Inbox.

            • by thue ( 121682 )
              As I said, I just took a backup of all my email. After checking the "Enable POP for all mail (even mail that's already been downloaded)" button mention in my initial post, I was able to download all mail, not just the mail in my inbox.
      • Exactly. If you're not keeping backups of your own data, and trusting a free service, you're crazy. But Google is generally quite good at letting you get your data in standard formats. POP3 for Gmail, iCal for Google Calender, various formats for Google Docs & Spreadsheets, etc. I don't trust Google more than I trust any other company, but worrying about vendor lock-in just doesn't make any sense here.
    • by iabervon ( 1971 )
      I don't see why Google would have to make it difficult to extract your data. Unlike Microsoft, they're not planning to make their users want to switch away, because their business model doesn't put them in an adversarial position with respect to their users. (Their business model is based on showing ads to people who might actually want what's advertized, which is beneficial to everybody involved.)

      Most business models involve making it easy for people to adopt your product at some point. That doesn't mean t
  • Now will I receive as much spam as I do from Hotmail addresses?

  • Invite spoolers have been around for some time.

  • by dlim ( 928138 )
    Open to the world, yet it's still a "Beta" application. Huh.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 08, 2007 @11:26AM (#17934418)
    That article is 2.5 years old.... There is no link at Gmail allowing a free signup without a cell phone.

    This is what Gmail says about signing up currently:

    Can I sign up without the invitation code? Or without a mobile phone? obile&answer=22245&hl=en []
  • I was hoping to trade 1000 gmail invites for a joost invite
  • by supernova87a ( 532540 ) < minus language> on Thursday February 08, 2007 @11:56AM (#17934758)
    This may be a little off topic, but maybe many others here will benefit from discussing this same concern. I love Gmail, but there is a problem I see that's been slowly nagging me:

    I use Gmail to read the messages off my work/academic Pine accounts, and it has rapidly become my main way to check email because it has a great feature set, and Gmail doesn't pull some of the stupid tricks that other free email services do. I also use it to send messages (i.e. the "from:" field pretending as if it is one of the other work/school accounts I have), and rapidly I'm accumulating email on my Gmail account that now doesn't exist elsewhere.

    However, sometime in the far off future, Gmail may decide not to work one day, or there may be a new technology to replace it. We can't know for sure. So I would like to be able to have a backup of that mail just in case. As much as I trust Gmail and like Google, I need some way to keep my mail on my own, because if it were all lost, it would be awful.

    Couldn't they offer a service, for some reasonable amount of $$, where they would burn my entire Gmailbox onto a DVD and send it to me? With the size of my mailbox, POP downloading is becoming impossible, and this would also be a great way to give users some peace of mind.

    or has anyone else felt this worry, and come up with an interesting/workable solution??
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aug24 ( 38229 )
      Watch and see.

      Only last week, some poster here complained that there was no 'open in docs' link for .doc file attachments in gmail. All of three days later (IIRC) it appeared, and I've been using it with pleasure. I hadn't realised I wanted it till it was pointed out.

      So someone there is prolly surfing /. and you may get your wish.

    • as a side note, this problem is even more important for people who, unlike me, don't have any other email accounts whose mail is getting forwarded to Gmail to read. For users who use Gmail as their only/primary account, a backup is even more important. Just think of that Lycos user who caused all that trouble over permanently deleted email. Google doesn't tell you how long your account is valid for, does it? A hard copy of your mail in your hands is priceless.
    • by TheCarp ( 96830 ) *
      Have you considered asking their support if they can offer this, maybe as a pay service.

      You never know... they may already be willing to do that for a fee if you ask.

      Though, don't you only pop download new messages? Why not setup another mailbox somewhere, pop everything off, then setup a filter rule that sends a copy of each message off to the other mailbox. That way you have a real auto-updating archive.

      Then just BCC that mailbox on everything you send too.

    • What kind of a crap ISP do you have which makes it impossible to download two gigs if data? Are you on a research station in Antarctica? You won't get much sympathy over having to download two gigs from slashdot. Most people here download CD and DVD images on a regular basis.
    • by jbarr ( 2233 )

      I just set up POP on Gmail, and use Thunderbird to do the backup. Yes, the first time, it will have to download EVERYTHING, but once that is done, it's very simple on an ongoing basis.

      Some tips:

      1. Initial Transfer
      For some reason, Thunderbird wouldn't download ALL my emails at once (I had over 3000 messages at the time.) It seemed to pull them in in blocks of a few hundred at a time. It took a number of repeated download sessions to complete the entire download. Yes, it was a bit tedious, but it
  • Now if only... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by proxy318 ( 944196 )
    They'd let you use some of that storage for Picasa's web albums. 250MB for pictures, almost 3GB for email? That's kind of ass-backwards.
    • You could email yourself the pictures in attachments and store them in Gmail if you wanted to, I've done it.
  • And at the very same time, Yahoo Mail Beta has blocked Linux users. Maybe it's time to switch.
  • by mixtape5 ( 762922 ) <> on Thursday February 08, 2007 @12:35PM (#17935294) Journal
    G-mail is hardly exclusive. Anyone that wants a g-mail account can get one. Even if this story is not true, and they have not "opened it for all". I'm sure many of us have gmail accounts with a lot of remaining invites...all anyone who wanted a key has to do is ask around.

    Personally I think its a marketing strategy used by gmail to make people feel special by having it "invite only", but by making so many invites they have destroyed the exclusiveness of it :s
    • Sounds like marketing, but like someone mentioned, it's very possible that the invites were used as a sort of social network mapping tool.
      in that case it make sense to give lots of invites.
      Whatever google does, their final purpose always seems to be to get more data from you.
  • As I understand it, it's not just Google Mail here in the UK, but throughout all of the EU, since it's actually a German company that owns the Gmail trademark here.

    Funny, I handed out my first invitation to another prospective user (my wife) just three days ago. I have 99 left, and don't need them.

  • by Pigeon451 ( 958201 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:17PM (#17935816)
    My biggest gripe is Gmail doesn't work with tabs. When using webmail, I open email into tabs I want to read, and by the time I've finished clicking say 5 or so emails, they have finished loading into my browser and I can switch tabs to view them. Gmail doesn't allow tabbed browsing. Also I find Gmail's interface a bit clunky and limiting, much like Microsoft's products are.
  • If you need a mobile phone, do you perhaps only need an SMS client? I couldn't find any documentation on how to send to AIM or ICQ without just replying, but in theory, could you enter something into the google reg page so it messages your AIM account rather than a phone?
  • GMail is popular (Score:2, Informative)

    by meist3r ( 1061628 )
    By the way: It's Google Mail in germany too because some other company holds the rights on a "G-Mail" brand.

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.