Gmail - a Case Study

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  • Topic: Webmail, Google, Gmail
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GMail-A Case Study
"…Search is Number Two Online Activity - Email is Number One; 'Heck, Yeah,' Say Google Founders…" Headline of press release issued by Google on April 1, 2004 for GMail.

On 1st April 2004, Google announced a new web-based mail service called Gmail. During launch it announced a one GB of free storage for each user. It has many of new features for regular webmail users such as grouping of messages into one conversation. It was powered with Google's popular search technology to help users search within mails effectively.

Numbers of Email users are multiplying day by day. It is becoming the first mode of communication in business world. One may access his email in different ways. You can use any desktop email client such as Outlook or Eudora by connecting to your mail server. Again, use your full email address as your username. You can use POP3 or IMAP protocols, whichever you prefer. This is the preferred way of accessing Emails in corporate. The easiest way is to use webmail interface. This is preferred way of accessing emails for private use.

Why Webmail?
Webmail allows you to send and receive email from any computer in the world which is connected to internet just by using your email address and password. Webmails are based on hypertext mark up language (HTML). There are various internet browsers available for different platform which can be used to access your messages or send and receive email. Emails are stored on the webmail provider's server. All the information of the webmails are stored on the webmail server itself until it is deleted by user or by provider.

Main differences between Webmail and Normal email client.
•You can access your email using webmail from almost any computer which is connected to internet without configuring anything. While a normal desktop client need to be configured on every computer. Also it can be configured only on the computers which can connect to your Email provider's server. •Messages always stay on the server when it is read by using webmail. In case of desktop client it is downloaded and stored on local computers. •Webmail used to be very slow in the early age of internet when most of the internet users were using dial-up connections. This was also a limiting factor for business world to use webmail interface for internal Email communication. By the increase of broadband internet usage it is becoming faster. •Webmail uses very few of the local computer's resources. All upgrades are automatic. •Most of the webmail services are offered for free. There are many webmail providers who offer this service along with many other features.

"..Web-based e-mail, or Webmail, has brought e-mail access to millions of PC users. In the near future, if Webmail functionality increases as predicted, it could erase e-mail clients from millions of corporate desktops. That would be a boon for many e-mail administrators burdened by the complex and finicky clients.."

Why to jump in already crowded market?
Before April 2004, almost all of the webmail services being offered had few of following drawbacks... •Accounts had period limit. Those were getting disabled if not accessed for a certain period of time. Most of them were offering a maximum of one month period. •All services have limited storage for emails. Users have to either choose to pay a big sum of money for additional space or end up loosing some important mails while freeing up some space accidentally. •Many of these services had a maximum size limit for sending or receiving large file attachments. •Searching of the old mails was always a difficult and time consuming task. •Features like pop-in, pop-out, extra storage space are not available for free •Many of those put an advertisement along with the Email as part of the mail body. According to Google investor Michael Moritz,

"..Two things people did most online were communicate and hunt for information.." Google was already dominating the...
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