Hotmail and Yahoo have sparked many revolutions and milestones in the world of email. This is the story of how Gmail Changed The Game For Hotmail and Yahoo.
Hotmail and Yahoo Originally Dominated The Email Space
Emails, when they were launched, were a revolutionary thing. People could send messages to anyone in the whole world that would be received instantly. It revolutionized not just communication but the world of business as well. Detailed conversations and would be now communicated worldwide which enabled businesses to prosper. Things that had to be telegraphed or posted previously could now be conveyed instantly through computers and the World Wide Web. Email, at this point, was still primarily being used for business and academic uses. It wasn’t common for people to have personal email addresses. The email also wasn’t available for free. Most people got email addresses through their Internet Service Providers.
Hotmail was the first game changer
Email was just starting to get popular when Hotmail launched. Sure, Hotmail seems archaic now (the Hotmail website doesn’t even exist anymore, it has been renamed to Outlook.com, though the Hotmail email addresses are still can be accessed through Outlook.com, but it truly changed email for people. Hotmail was the first proper free email provider. You no longer needed to pay for an email address and you didn’t have to buy a subscription from anywhere.
Even more importantly, Hotmail was the first proper ‘webmail’ client. Before Hotmail, most people used Outlook like software to access their email. This limited where they could check their emails because they would have to configure the software wherever they wanted to check their email. Hotmail could be accessed from any browser and did not need any system changes or installation. This was huge for people; email was finally free, in a financial sense as well as free in the sense that it could be accessed from anywhere.
This was also what allowed young people to get in touch with their peers. Previously, if you were young, your dad or mother had an email address because they paid for AOL or some other ISP. Now the kids could make their own email addresses and communicate with each other. This was also the era of email addresses that make people cringe now – seeing an email address like da3k5m0k3punch3r would be perfectly normal in this era. Nowadays people have mostly accepted that email addresses should be their name or a variation of their name but back then things were new and people didn’t really care.
The problem with Hotmail and Yahoo
Yahoo launched their own email service as well which was also a hit. Hotmail and Yahoo also became very popular due to their chat software. Hotmail addresses worked with MSN Messenger, which was the main way for people the world over to chat with people they knew. Yahoo messenger was also popular, especially its chat rooms feature which allowed you to talk to strangers all over the world. Hotmail, Yahoo, and AOL were the king of email back then but there was one big problem – they didn’t change with the times.
Upon launch, Hotmail offered somewhere around 2MB of storage space – which was more than enough considering that email was just text back then and not many people used email. It slowly grew to 6MB for both Yahoo and Hotmail and then it stagnated. This is where the problem became apparent. This is the era when digital cameras were starting to be cheap enough to be a normal thing. You couldn’t really send a lot of pictures through email and if you received an email with pictures you would have to download the pictures and delete the email from your inbox or you wouldn’t be able to receive any more emails. Sending someone a song was pretty much impossible unless you compressed it with some software (like Real Player) which would compress it to the point where it sounded horrible. People wanted bigger inboxes but no one was offering bigger inboxes unless people paid for it.
People thought Gmail was a joke when it launched
Google has many quirks in the way they do things. They always have very elaborate April fool’s day pranks which people enjoy every year. They also have a habit of launching new products on April fool’s day which always results in a lot of confusion. So picture this – up till now Microsoft, AOL, and Yahoo, the three biggest internet companies, are all providing inboxes which offer less than 10mb of storage space. On April fool’s day Google, the search engine that people like to use launches an email service and promises 1 GB of free email storage space. It was unthinkable, it couldn’t be real, and was written off as a joke in the beginning. Then people started getting invitations and it turned out that Gmail was real.
The hype of Gmail’s launch was amazing. People were talking to each other about how 1GB will never be full. Google also launched it as an invitation-based system – you couldn’t just go to Gmail.com and create an account. You had to be invited by someone who already had a Gmail account. There were competitions in magazines in which the prize was that you would get a Gmail invite. Once you got Gmail you had the option of sending an invite to 6 other people. When people found out that you had Gmail they would pester you hoping to be invited.
We are in the post-Gmail era of email. These days 1GB email inboxes are the norm – and Gmail made them the norm. Gmail doesn’t even have a 1GB inbox limit anymore – they keep adding more storage and providing more storage to people. The attachment limit has been upped to 20mb for most email providers and large files can be shared easily. Back then, it was hard to send a single picture in an email, now we can send whole albums. Gmail won because it provided exactly what people wanted – to not ever have to worry about their inboxes filling up. It completely changed the email game. It also comes with many fantastic tips and tricks that can help your email experience become even better.
See also our Related Article: Gmail Login By Howard Silverman