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Google's Gmail To Offer 1GB E-mail Storage? 1082

Posted by simoniker
from the the-g-man-cometh dept.
tstoneman writes "Wow, according to the New York Times (free reg. req.), looks like Google is really trying to push the envelope by offering 1 GB free storage for e-mail users via a service called Gmail, still in the testing phase, so that users never need to change their e-mail address. In addition, they want to offer their searching capabilities so that users can search through their entire set of e-mail, I guess forever. CNET News also has more details." Update: 04/01 02:38 GMT by S : The Google site now has an official press release, naturally dated April 1st.
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Google's Gmail To Offer 1GB E-mail Storage?

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  • Wahooo (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:23PM (#8732117)
    I will sign up for 1000 accounts and get a free terabyte storage system.
    • Re:Wahooo (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:38PM (#8732323)
      I will sign up for 1000 accounts and get a free terabyte storage system.

      Many a true word in jest. I do not know exactly how the system will work, but there is enormous potential for abuse. Actually, just personal storage of large amounts of data is probably the least of the concerns. One could imagine a warez or porn distribution system based on small requests to a controlling site that then uses mail fowarding to deliver the content (thus pushing the bulk of the storage and bandwidth costs onto gmail).

    • Re:Wahooo (Score:5, Funny)

      by Penguinshit (591885) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:39PM (#8732337) Homepage Journal

      In a corner office on Java Drive in Sunnyvale, CA, Dan Warmenhoven's head just exploded...
      • Re:Wahooo (Score:5, Interesting)

        by saden1 (581102) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @09:13PM (#8732695)
        This is what I like about Google...they are thinking big and long term. You'd be crazy not to switch email account (over time of course). All I want is an email address without a digit and lots of space and with google I just might get both.

        As soon as the service is out to the general public everyone on my contact list will be informed of my new email account.
    • Re:Wahooo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by seanadams.com (463190) * on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:43PM (#8732380) Homepage
      I could see this really being a haven for pirates, assuming they have a web front-end. Imagine if everybody had a gig of storage on an absurdly fast pipe and the ability to move files back and forth practically instantly.

      We'll have guys writing p2p applications on top of this which let you automatically find the warez you need, then automatically trigger a forward from the mail account where the file is located. And the anonymity is so much easier because the files are being moved by someone else.
      • by KalvinB (205500) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @09:02PM (#8732603) Homepage
        and assume they limit the maximum amount you can attach per e-mail. And using it as filestorage would require giving people your login and password.

        Unless you can anonymously browse other people's e-mail it's really not going to work. At best there would just be people advertising their accounts and people would have to manually (or submit a form) e-mail them a request.

        At any rate, any system that attempts to whore out Google will be public and no doubt Google will squish such accounts pretty quickly and have no trouble getting the authorities to act on it. I had free anonymous FTP for awhile but since I have an obscure IP (more warez people fish popular IP ranges and don't bother to go to a web-site to see the big giant ad) I only had to report a couple people to their ISP for attempting to store warez on it.

        I offer POP3 accounts with no storage limits but with a 15MB attachment limit and I expect e-mails to be pulled from the server. The idea of no storage limits is so that you don't go on vacation only to lose e-mails because your inbox got too full and so you can get large files back and forth easily. Not so you can use it as your own personal harddrive.

        I think Google is really overselling this service and once it's all debugged they'll most likely offer something a bit more sane.

        Or maybe their next goal is the best spam fighting engine on the planet and offering people insane amounts of space they'll never use is just a way to get people to drop everything else so they can start collecting more spam than AOL for analysis.

        Until MyDoom came out and Cox blocked incomming port 25 on top of the already blocked outgoing port 25 I was running a spam can for that very purpose: get all the spam you can where you don't care and then use the info to preemptively block spam from your real inboxes.

        Ben
    • by Dalcius (587481) <chrism3413+slash ... om minus painter> on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @09:28PM (#8732850)
      You must work for a hard drive manufacturer.

      Hehe.
  • woah (Score:3, Interesting)

    by big daddy kane (731748) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:24PM (#8732120)
    well im all for peace love and happiness, but i serisouly have no clue how that could remain profitable, unless of course that 1 gig is space on your own hard drive
    • Re:woah (Score:5, Funny)

      by glitch! (57276) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @09:54PM (#8733073)
      ...but i serisouly have no clue how that could remain profitable,...

      And in unrelated news, Google has won a multi-billion dollar contract with NSA for its cooperation in setting up and maintaining an "information storage and retrieval facility" dedicated to national security and total information awareness purposes...
  • by jimmyharris (605111) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:24PM (#8732126) Homepage
    The first of April perhaps...
  • Gmail? (Score:5, Funny)

    by beakerMeep (716990) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:24PM (#8732128)
    Why not Moogle?
  • Google vs. spammers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:24PM (#8732129)
    I can't wait to see what Google's anti-spam technology is going to look like. You can't do a webmail service these days without one...
  • by erick99 (743982) * <homerun@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:26PM (#8732144)
    I wonder if Google would have offered this as well as rather quickly adding the new features to it's search service if it were not for MicroSoft's impending entry into the search engine market.

    However, the email service sounds great. 1GB of space is incredible but I think I would like the ability to do a fast search through all of my stored email even more. Even though the article notes that 1GB per user will cost Google only about $2 to maintain (they didn't say if that was a annual cost or what), if they did get 100M users that would be pretty expensive! It makes you wonder if they don't have a tiered service in mind down the road. Of course, this will be "advertiser supported" so who knows how invasive that will or will not be when using their mail services.

    Still, this all smacks of either "window dressing" for Wall Street, "war paint" for Microsoft, or, perhaps, both? Either way the users will be winners for a least a little while.

    Happy Trails!

    Erick

    • by System.out.println() (755533) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:28PM (#8732180) Journal
      I wonder if the $2 for a GB takes into account that 90% of the accounts will not grow beyond the first few megabytes.
    • by aussersterne (212916) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:31PM (#8732229) Homepage
      Even though the article notes that 1GB per user will cost Google only about $2 to maintain (they didn't say if that was a annual cost or what), if they did get 100M users that would be pretty expensive!

      The number of users who will actually use that much storage is very small. I have a large email volume, plus SPAM, which I save (but filter into another folder with spamassassin). My email archive goes all the way back to 1997 and is still not much larger than 1GB. Even with SPAM, I think most users will take months or even years to reach a 150-200MB, much less 1GB.

      And of course, it's very likely that Google will aggressively filter SPAM in the same way that Yahoo! or the others do.
    • by leerpm (570963) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:34PM (#8732272)
      Not Microsoft. Yahoo. Yahoo is their biggest competitor, and they are going for Yahoo's crown jewels, their premium users who pay for the email service.
    • by NanoGator (522640) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:44PM (#8732395) Homepage Journal
      " Of course, this will be "advertiser supported" so who knows how invasive that will or will not be when using their mail services."

      Setting aside the posibilty that this is an April Fool's joke, (Although it does say March 31st on the story..) perhaps advertising is exactly what they're after. Instead of using disposable accounts, they make it so you never need to clean your mailbox again. That means you use Google as your mail client instead of whatever app you use. That means their ads are always up, etc.

      I'm skeptical about this, really. But hey, it has the virtue of never having been tried. What kind of revenue can you get when you give somebody a low-cost service that makes them eyeball your site many times a day every day?
    • by cavebear42 (734821) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @09:13PM (#8732697)
      I think "a little while" is more true than people are considering. Is the concept of "forever e-mail" real? I thought it was. I move to hotmail for the last move ever, no more ISP changes, no more requiring a client. Then the pot sweetened, outlook express reading and locally storing emails off of the servers. Then it all went to hell, the folder sizes got cut ridiculously small, they started extorting money for real sizes, never increased maximum attachment size with the market calling for larger files, and then the selling of our addresses. A sad day indeed. My last e-mail address ever is now just a junk mail box, I still use it for required registrations and such but it fills from zero to capacity in 48 hours.

      I resolved to purchase a domain and collect all mails to the domain (catch-all), leaning how bad that was, I now have only a few allowed. My main one get more spam every week and I know that one day I will have to leave it too, at least for another on the same domain.

      Thinking that Google will be a permanent solution is a little short sighted, the only way you can assure a permanent address which you can control is to purchase a domain, and even then you may still have to move one day. (I'll gladly use my 1 GB though.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:26PM (#8732150)
    The press release [businesswire.com] reads like a joke. Is it an (early) April Fool's joke?
  • cross your fingers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheUberBob (700030) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:27PM (#8732161)
    I'm really looking forward to seeing what google does in this space. Hotmail and Yahoo just aren't very high quality/consumer oriented. If google can provide a feature rich interface that doesn't focus on upsell to the user, then they could capture a lot of interest/visibility. Right now I rarely use online email services because of the UPGRADE NOW! spam and the primitive interface.
  • by graphicartist82 (462767) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:27PM (#8732165)
    What does having 1GB of storage space on Google's mail server have to do with never needing to change your e-mail address?

    It might allow you to keep many more e-mails than possible with yahoo or hotmail, but how will this allow me to never change my e-mail again?
  • so that users never need to change their e-mail address

    So after netscape.net, hotmail.com, yahoo.com, real.net I will have a google.com address which will never need to be changed!

    I already have a lot of them you know :-)

    Edwin
  • Binaries? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:28PM (#8732188)
    My first thought is that they're going to give one GB of text storage and forbid the use of the service to transfer binary attachments. (with limits on how many e-mails you can get from a particular sender per day and how big each message can be enforcing the rule so that good old usenet encoders don't work.) Therefore, they can give everybody a full GB of apparent storage, while older rarely-checked messages sit in compressed space... readable text always compresses well. :)
  • It's about time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fname (199759) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:29PM (#8732196) Journal
    It always ticked me off how much companies charge to storage. I know that bandwidth costs money, and it costs money to maintain servers, but since the typical consumer price for a hard drive is approaching $0.50/gigabyte, it was just a matter of time before someone offered scads of storage for low-bandwidth applications. Maybe someone else will see what Google is doing and offer unlimited storage of photos and other stuff (with bandwidth limits, of course) that you can share with others.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @09:57PM (#8733091)
      Between consumer storage and enterprise storage. Our users always bitch about their UNIX quotas. 100MB unless a professor oks more up to 500MB, more that that requires clearence from one of the department heads or associates. They ask as you do, why if hard drives are so cheap don't we give more storage?

      Because when you implement a consumer level storage solution, the drive is your entire cost. You buy it, store data, and our happy. That's not the case with our UNIX storage. First, it is Sun hardware so more expensive anyhow. Second, it is all SCSI RAID-5 with a hot spare, more expensive disks and 2 of them wasted space. Finally, it's all backed up. Nightly, tapes rotated weekly, with monthly trips to a secure offsite vault.

      It's not so cheap to implement sotrage of that level. To expand it requires not getting another disk, but getting more disks, hardware to hold those disks, a tape backup unit capable of backing up ALL the storage in one shot, tapes to hold those backups, and space in the storage facility (we actually get that last one for free).

      We don't just get to drive to CompUSA, drop $200 and boost the disk space. It takes thousands of dollars, not to mention staff time spent planning and implementing the changeover to result in no loss of service or data. Because of this, it is expected that when we put a solution into place, it will last a number of years. We are currently upgrading it, but that'll be the last time for a minimum of 3 years.

      There are compenstaions though. Users expect, correctly, that if they accidently delete a file, we will be able to recover a copy only 1 day old. They expect that if a disk fails, there will be no interruption to their work. They expect that even if the building were destroyed, their data would survive. This is all correct, but all expensive.

      This is also what is offered by most online webhosts and the like. They aren't whacking single IDE drives in their servers and hoping that they survive. They run some kind of RAID setup with regular backups. That costs a good deal more money.

      There is also the problem that high storage most often infers high bandwidth. For a long time I had about 5MB stored on my website. Not supprisingly, I used less than 500MB/month. I then had more to store, and now use about 500MB. If I provided only my website to transfer the files, I'd exceed my 21GB/month quota, I have two other servers that combined tend to do around 30GB/month. What I offer would be considered low demand files (OGG soundtracks for the old iD (Doom/Doom2) and Raven (Heretic/Hexen) games.

      Bandwidth is expensive, and companies need to turn a profit. They also don't want to risk lawsuits over lost data.
  • PERFERCT! (Score:4, Funny)

    by brain_not_ticking (722737) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:29PM (#8732199)
    Now I can archive all of those viagra offers and search through them to find the best deal! YAY!!

    Wait...froogle already lets me do that
  • by rokzy (687636) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:29PM (#8732210)
    if they do this, their popularity might make them quickly become the number 1 webmail service.

    then, if they implement a good spam filter, including the ability to cross-reference all their users reported spam or similar titled emails, then they could effectively eliminate non-POP spam.

    of course their popularity will make them a huge target of spammers' attention, but I have more faith in Google's abilities than I do in the spammers'.
  • Other links (Score:4, Informative)

    by a.koepke (688359) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:30PM (#8732212)
    ZDNet Article [com.com]
    MSNBC Article [msn.com]
  • The article (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:30PM (#8732213)
    AN FRANCISCO, March 31 -- Google, the dominant Internet search company, is planning to up the stakes in its intensifying competition with Yahoo and Microsoft by unveiling a new consumer-oriented electronic mail service.

    The new service, to be named Gmail, is scheduled to be released on Thursday, according to people involved with the plan. It will be "soft launched," they said, in a manner that Google has followed with other features that it has added to its Web site, with little fanfare and initially presented as a long-running test.

    E-mail has become a crucial weapon in the competition to win the allegiance of Internet users, who often turn to one or two Web sites as the foundation of their online activities.

    As Microsoft's MSN and Yahoo are preparing to attack Google's role as the first place most people turn to carry out an Internet search, Google is hoping to counter those assaults by moving onto the turf its competitors have already claimed in providing e-mail services as part of their portals.

    Google is starting far behind Microsoft, which claims 170 million active users for its Hotmail service, America Online and Yahoo. But Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., is planning to play on its information search strength to compete with the existing services.

    Google will offer consumers better access to searching their own e-mail and could well upset the industry balance by offering free access to services that previously were only available by paying a monthly subscription fee.

    The standard industry practice is to offer tiered mail services, providing only limited storage for free and charging higher fees to users who want to preserve larger numbers of e-mail messages. Google, by contrast, is planning a service to be supported by advertising that will permit its users to store very large amounts of mail at no cost.

    One internal Google study put the operational cost of maintaining electronic mail storage at less than $2 per gigabyte.

    In recent weeks, Google has picked up the pace of updating and adding new features to its basic search service, as part of its effort to position itself as a strong business ready to sell shares to investors in what is expected to be the most popular initial public offering by a Silicon Valley company in years.

    Early this week, for example, Google polished its appearance, making the company's array of services more accessible. The company also moved its Froogle catalog shopping search engine into a more prominent position on the first page of the Google Web site.

    Google has been closely watched in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street during the past year for any indication about its plans for an initial public stock offering. The company has steadfastly declined to respond to speculation.

    Its chief executive, Eric Schmidt, told The Wall Street Journal this week that the company was exploring many options, but he explained at a recent industry conference that Google does not necessarily need to move forward on an offering any time soon.

    Google's entry into the e-mail business will sharpen the lines between the major competing portals like Yahoo and MSN and Internet service providers like AOL and Earthlink. Google recently lost its position as search provider for Yahoo, which has turned to a company it acquired, Overture, to take advantage of the growing amounts of advertising revenue available on search pages.

    To date, Google has maintained a strong relationship with AOL. But as it enters a business that competes directly with one of America Online's core offerings, it could find that AOL, like Yahoo, begins to view Google as a more direct competitor.

    Microsoft has also dramatically increased the importance of building its own capability to offer search services of its own. The company has been showing a range of features that it hopes will make its MSN service more of a draw to Web users who rely on search engines as starting points for finding information and services on the Inter
  • by Ghoser777 (113623) <[fahrenba] [at] [mac.com]> on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:30PM (#8732219) Homepage
    I can't imagine that emails with unlimted attachment size would be supported. I could send whole ISOs to myself and use Google's servers as my own personal free storage space otherwise. My guess (I didn't get much else from the CNet article), is that either there's going to be some type of traffic cap per day/week/month etc, some maximum size on attachments, or some other system put in place to curtail this. Otherwise, Google's probably going to be in a world of hurt when nefarious people decide to take advantage of the system.

    The sad thing is, the people who would exploit Google's offering will also be whining when the service has to be terminated or severely restricted because of their abusive behavior.

    As always, there's probably more to the story - time will tell.

    Matt Fahrenbacher
  • $2.00 a gigabyte? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by weave (48069) * on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:31PM (#8732221) Journal
    The article says google estimates costs of storage at about two dollars a gigabyte. Woohoo if true. Maybe Apple will catch a clue and drop the price on their extra dot-mac storage costs. For a gigabyte, they charge $350 a year.

    Yup, heard that right.

  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:31PM (#8732237) Homepage Journal
    Bigger, more successful companies than google have been known to go out of business.

    I registered my first domain name after my ISP was down for a week and none of my clients could email me.

    If you have your own domain, and the hosting service tanks, you can sign up with a different host and have the DNS switched over in a couple days. But if your email address is at someone else's domain, you're out of luck if they go down.

    I'm glad I established my own domain when I did. I kept my old ISP even when I moved away, so I could get the odd email from people who didn't know my new one. One day, though, the national ISP that bought them out shut my old ISP down entirely, taking out the email addresses for a substantial portion of Santa Cruz, California's population.

    I think each individual person on the planet should have their own domain name.

  • by afidel (530433) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:31PM (#8732239)
    Especially if you are subscribed to high volume, non-public mailing list which are relevant to your job. I used to run a person search engine from altavista and the ability to pull up info from the devel lists at works was invaluable. Then I upgraded to win2k and it no longer worked all the time, and finally I had to reinstall and the software refused to install (it had been brought in origionally with an upgrade from 98SE). I would love to be able to search email so easily again but I doubt my employer would allow me to sign up an outside email address to the internal lists that would make it most valuable =(
  • Joke? Or Not? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kill-hup (120930) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:32PM (#8732245) Homepage
    If it is a joke, they went to the trouble of setting up a "Coming Soon" [google.com] page.

    /me would be really surprised if this was for real...

  • It's no lie.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by mrpuffypants (444598) * <mrpuffypants.gmail@com> on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:32PM (#8732252)
    Check it out:

    http://www.gmail.com/ [gmail.com]
  • I dunno (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jeffkjo1 (663413) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:33PM (#8732256) Homepage
    I don't know that this is neccessarily a good idea. Do you really want a corporation holding 5, 10, 20+ years of your email? What if you're under investigation? All the sudden everything you've said over the past 20 years is very easily accessiable.

    "Well Mr. Jones, it seems as though you're awfully interested in increasing your penis size for some pre-teen lolitas.. What do you have to say for yourself?"
    • Re:I dunno (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bc90021 (43730) * <bc90021@NoSpam.bc90021.net> on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @09:08PM (#8732644) Homepage
      How is this different than now? As of now, most people will have years' worth of email on their home computers.

      In fact, Google having it might be better - if word gets out that they're letting the government read people's email, they'll lose the audience for those ads they'll be selling.

      However, since no one is selling ads to Evolution on my deesktop, a search warrant doesn't kill marketing dollars for anyone.
    • Re:I dunno (Score:4, Funny)

      by 1029 (571223) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @09:15PM (#8732716) Homepage Journal

      "Well Mr. Jones, it seems as though you're awfully interested in increasing your penis size for some pre-teen lolitas.. What do you have to say for yourself?"


      Guilty as charged? I do love them pre-teen lolitas... oh wait a minute!

      Seriously though, if you are worried about email being evidence against you later down the road, DELETE IT! And if that isn't enough, what the hell are you doing sending sensitive info over non-encrypted email? I mean if it is that big of a deal, the evil gov't will just take your home email server and re-create the disks anyhow, so what is your point?
  • by Michalson (638911) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:36PM (#8732303)
    Why 1GB of storage may dazzle, what I think could really be revolutionary is the possiblity of Google searching your email. Even with mail folders it's still easy to "lose" some piece of information you want to find later on. With 100 messages carrying the subject "re: meeting" its a pain to find (especially with webmail where each message requires a page load) the one that actually tells you when the meeting is.
  • by I don't want to spen (638810) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:39PM (#8732330) Journal
    Shouldn't they call this Gig-gle?
  • 1 GB (Score:5, Funny)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquar ... m ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:40PM (#8732349) Homepage Journal
    1 GB ought to be good enough for anybody
  • by orthogonal (588627) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @08:46PM (#8732420) Journal
    In addition, they want to offer their searching capabilities so that users can search through their entire set of e-mail, I guess forever.

    With all due respect to Google, and god knows they're one of the few companies that seems to get "it" right, what with uncluttered interfaces, unbiased services, and unobtrusive text ads -- Google also records the IP address along with the search terms of every search.

    Anytime you've Googled on "anime tentacle rape", "venereal disease STD symptom", "P2P download", "closeted gay", "arguments for atheism" or "overthrow government", Google has recorded your computer's IP address and has tried to set a cookie in your browser. To Google's credit, the search still works even if you don't accept the cookie; but Google is keeping the IP and search term log -- forever.

    After just a few hundred searches, you don't need to be a Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to do a little data-mining and get a good idea of a user's interests, proclivities, and possible "deviancy" from his search terms.

    My fear then, is this: will you be the only one who can search through your database of email, "I guess forever"? Or will Google be able to search it too. Or even if they lock themselves out of search or reading your email directly, will Google, as they do now for web searches, keep a log of the searches you make on your own email?

    Again, you can tell a lot about someone if you have a list of all his Google searches, but you can probably learn even more and more immediate information if you have a list of his searches through his email.

    Remember the "Halloween X" email recently released, from Mike Anderer to SCO about Anderer's attempts to raise money on SCO's behalf? Imagine if Anderer had been searching for that email before -- or after -- the release of the "Halloween X" letter; I suspect you could learn even more juicy details by seeing what search terms he used?

    What if Richard Clarke and Condaleeza Rice has stored their emails in Google GMail? Of course, the government wouldn't store email in GMail -- but imagine if the people in analogous positions in your company did -- say the head of security and her deputies? Could Google learn much about your company's financial dealings from the search terms they used to review their mail?

    What if you stored and looked for emails regarding your company's Non-Disclosure Agreement or upcoming patent for some new technology? Could a competitor glean import information just from your search terms?

    If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, are you still answering "yes" to wanting to try out GMail for yourself?

    It's simple: too much information concentrated into any one set of hands -- even hands as apparently benign as Google's -- invites abuse or -- even if Google never bends to that temptation -- tempts others to steal that data.
  • by JoeShmoe (90109) <askjoeshmoe@hotmail.com> on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @09:01PM (#8732586)
    That's right AOL. Don't believe me? Here's how it worked. Anyone who grew up on AOL knows what I'm talking about.

    Each AOL account could have up to five screen names. Each screen name could have up to 550 e-mails* in their Inbox. Each e-mail could have a maximum file attachment of 15MB.

    So...15MB times 550 is 8GB times 5 is about 40GB. That's per account, and thanks to the various account generation/phishing tricks, it wasn't uncommon to have several AOL accounts at any one time.

    What did this mean? Well, it meant that AOL became one of the biggest warez havens in the blossoming Internet. And all with point and click easy, none of the file decoding nonsense of USENET.

    How did AOL do this? I have no idea...but there were entire groups of people uploading warez non-stop so they could forward the mails around. At some point AOL cracked wise and started nuking attachments that had been downloaded X times. But for many years, it was glorious. Imagine sending several GB of software to someone with a single click of a button.

    * actually you could have 550 in both Inbox, Outbox, and Read mail and various AOL tools helped you do this, bringing your capacity to a whopping 120GB.

    - JoeShmoe
    .
  • by judd (3212) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @09:11PM (#8732676) Homepage
    ... their desire not to be evil notwithstanding, there is no way in hell that I'm leaving my email on a remote box in US jurisdiction, where it can be snooped, indexed, crunched and otherwise interfered with. Does the US have *any* privacy legislation for consumers? No, I thought not. Does the US pass on commercial information gained through espionage [zdnet.co.uk] to US companies? Yes it does.

    Google search = providing me with other people's stuff. Google mail = potentially providing other people with my stuff.

  • Paranoia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by femto (459605) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @09:15PM (#8732713) Homepage
    Femto straps her/his tinfoil hat securely on before continuing...

    The following has no evidence to back it and is idle speculation.

    Could such moves lead to an attempt to shut down the distributed email system as we know it? Consider the following scenario:

    1. Set up generous mail services such as google's new mail service and hotmail.
    2. The majority of users register with these free email services.
    3. Set up a .mail domain [slashdot.org] for 'approved mail servers' only.
    4. The free mail services register in the .mail domain. The registration fee discourages users from running their own servers, driving them to the free services.
    5. The free mail services stop accepting email from outside the .mail domain. The majority of users don't care, as they are free mail account holders.
    6. Set major nodes in the Internet to block mail traffic from outside the .mail domain. Again, the majority don't care and the 'approved' free services go along with it as it drives more users their way.
    7. Make it a condition of being in the .mail domain that your database be available for searching. The remaining small email servers areeliminated. Noone hears (or cares about) their screams.
    8. All email is not stored in central, conveniently searchable, databases.

    Complete paranoia, but the cynic in me says 'what if'?

  • by dalutong (260603) <djtansey@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @09:22PM (#8732785)
    dear google,

    i love you. please listen.

    please allow for pop and imap connections to your new web mail.

    i love you baby, but you have to do this if you want to keep me.

    sincerely,

    your smiley face, :)
  • Lirpa Sloof (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ishamael69 (590041) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @09:22PM (#8732792)
    If you look at Google's press release [google.com] on the matter, you will note it is dated April 1, 2004 UTC.

    All of their other press releases [google.com] are simply dated, without the timezone...

    Hmmm.. That's odd. Wonder why?
  • Road to piracy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by almaon (252555) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @09:29PM (#8732859)
    1GB, that's a pretty hefty size. My concern is that such a wealth of storage is going to be abused by pirates.

    Those of you who are familar with AOL back in the early days found their large capacity email to be a haven for piracy. Large file attachments that once initially uploaded, could be forwarded and shared with hundreds of people in seconds, once recieved, it could be forwarded again to yet even more people. All without the delay of re-uploading, nor even having to download the complete file.

    I hope that Google has something up their sleave to preemptively nullify this problem before it starts. I used to make entertainment software for PC's and eventually had to disolve the S-Corp due to dwindling sales lost to piracy. The above mentioned method the result of...

    Possible solutions would be to limit the size of attachments. Possible disallow forwarding attachments greater than 50MB. Dunno, just hope this is just paranoia talking and not an omen commanded by my Rice Krispies.
  • privacy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by r5t8i6y3 (574628) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @10:33PM (#8733341)
    i wouldn't touch this service with a 10-foot pole given google's lack of a serious privacy policy. i didn't notice any statement regarding privacy in the announcement. but the privacy policy for the whole site includes, "Google may decide to change this Privacy Policy from time to time." also, do you know what google *really* does with those cookies?

    talk about a profiler's goldmine. don't tell me any of you believe google (a for-profit company) wouldn't scan every last email for "marketing" reasons?

    peace
  • by brlancer (666140) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @11:02PM (#8733536) Homepage Journal
    Google: "You are all individuals."
    Slashdot: "We are all individuals. Now, about a gig of email."
    Google: "It's just a joke. April's Fools? It's April, you're fools."
    Slashdot: "I do not think you have properly examined all the possible avenues for abuse--"
    Google: "IT'S A JOKE. IT'S A FUCKING JOKE. DO YOU NOT HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR?"
    Slashdot: "--where someone can use this tremendous amount of space for genera file storage in an attempt--"
    Google: "Joke. Wokka wokka? Hey, look, SCO is threatening IP litigation!"
    Slashdot: "--to,WHAT? Where? Quickly, man your posts..."
  • by NiKnight3 (532580) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @11:42PM (#8733652) Homepage
    2000 - MentalPlex
    http://www.google.com/mentalplex/ [google.com]

    2002 - PigeonRank
    http://www.google.com/technology/pigeonrank.html [google.com]

    [shrug] It sounds like a Google AF joke to me, but it seems like it'd be a bad idea for Google to mock free e-mail when it would be a good idea for Google to get into that (even if it wasn't a gig worth of space). If it's a joke, then it's almost like they're saying, "Haha, free e-mail. Riiiiiiiiight."

    As far as bandwidth and space are concerned, think about it... they have 4 billion web pages cached. How big's a web page? 4 KB? Not even including images, that's a lot of hard drive space. And bandwidth goes without saying.

    Of course, they probably want attention. They got it. But Google gets attention for pretty much anything [userfriendly.org].
  • GMail's Ts and Cs (Score:4, Informative)

    by lxt (724570) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @02:45AM (#8734628) Journal
    Intersting Terms and Conditions from the gmail.com info page:

    Gmail Program Policies

    To uphold the quality and reputation of Google Gmail, your use of Gmail is subject to these program policies. If you are found to be in violation of our policies at any time, as determined by Google in its sole discretion, we may warn you or suspend or terminate your account.

    Please note that we may change our policies at any time, and pursuant to our Terms of Use, it is your responsibility to keep up-to-date with and adhere to the policies posted here.

    Prohibited Actions

    In addition to (and/or as some examples of) the violations described in Section 3 of the Terms of Use, users may not:
    Generate or facilitate unsolicited commercial email ("spam"). Such activity includes, but is not limited to

    sending email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act or any other applicable anti-spam law
    imitating or impersonating another person or his, her or its email address, or creating false accounts for the purpose of sending spam
    data mining any web property (including Google) to find email addresses
    sending unauthorized mail via open, third-party servers
    sending emails to users who have requested to be removed from a mailing list
    selling, exchanging or distributing to a third party the email addresses of any person without such person's knowing and continued consent to such disclosure
    sending unsolicited emails to significant numbers of email addresses belonging to individuals and/or entities with whom you have no preexisting relationship

    Send, upload, distribute or disseminate or offer to do the same with respect to any unlawful, defamatory, harassing, abusive, fraudulent, infringing, obscene, or otherwise objectionable content
    Intentionally distribute viruses, worms, defects, Trojan horses, corrupted files, hoaxes, or any other items of a destructive or deceptive nature
    Conduct or forward pyramid schemes and the like
    Transmit content that may be harmful to minors
    Impersonate another person (via the use of an email address or otherwise) or otherwise misrepresent yourself or the source of any email
    Illegally transmit another's intellectual property or other proprietary information without such owner's or licensor's permission
    Use Gmail to violate the legal rights (such as rights of privacy and publicity) of others
    Promote or encourage illegal activity
    Interfere with other Gmail users' enjoyment of the Service
    Create multiple user accounts or create user accounts by automated means or under false or fraudulent pretenses
    Modify, adapt, translate, or reverse engineer any portion of the Gmail Service
    Remove any copyright, trademark or other proprietary rights notices contained in or on the Gmail Service
    Reformat or frame any portion of the web pages that are part of the Gmail Service
    Use the Gmail Service in connection with illegal peer-to-peer file sharing

    Security
    You must promptly notify Google of any breach of security related to the Services, including but not limited to unauthorized use of your password or account. To help ensure the security of your password or account, please sign out from your account at the end of each session.

    Account Inactivity

    Google will terminate your account in accordance with Section 9 of the Terms of Use if you fail to login to your account for a period of nine months
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @03:17AM (#8734738) Journal
    They have a detailed FAQ about it, registered gmail.google.com and even international domains like www.gmail.se [nic.se] (even if it's not even mentioned by Google officially yet), professional terms of use documents, etc. The news about Gmail is also said to have been published by Cnet back in March.

    They might have used this special date to gain extra PR from the confusion about it, however I doubt it's a joke.
  • by weave (48069) * on Thursday April 01, 2004 @08:14AM (#8735563) Journal
    If this is not an April Fool's joke, then technically the way they could achieve a gig per user is to have it be effectively a gig, but not physically.

    Look at all of the email that is duplicated, especially spam and mailing lists. Store one copy, hash it to a unique key somehow, and only store the key in the user's mail directory.

    This same technology could be used to detect and eliminate spam -- even if spammers randomly generate bits of the message. The report spam button will generate a case history of spam patterns and deal with it. Idiots, of course, report spam falsely, so a reputation index can be learned through past behavior to weight the legitimacy of the reports and to minimize abuse.

    I think it's real. Let's see. I'm going to be co-workers real money it's real, so it better be!

  • Bad sign (Score:4, Insightful)

    by superultra (670002) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @10:39AM (#8736924) Homepage
    Is it a bad sign when the really good ideas are hoaxes?

"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce

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