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Gmail is a free, advertising-supported email service provided by Google. Users may access Gmail as secure webmail, as well via POP3 or IMAP protocols.Gmail was launched as an invitation-only beta release on April 1, 2004 and it became available to the general public on February 7, 2007, though still in beta status at that time. The service was upgraded from beta status on July 7, 2009, along with the rest of the Google Apps suite.
With an initial storage capacity offer of 1 GB per user, Gmail significantly increased the webmail standard for free storage from the 2 to 4 MB its competitors such asHotmail offered at that time. Individual Gmail messages, including attachments, may be up to 25 MB, which is larger than many other mail services support. Gmail has a search-oriented interface and a "conversation view" similar to anInternet forum. Gmail is noted by web developers for its pioneering use of AJAX.Gmail runs on Google GFE/2.0 on Linux.As of October 2011, it had 260 million users worldwide.
Google has announced that starting November 22, 2011 they will not support the Gmail for BlackBerry native application, although BlackBerry users can continue to access Gmail through the mobile web app in their BlackBerry web browser.
The Gmail Labs feature, introduced on June 5, 2008, allows users to test new or experimental features of Gmail, such as bookmarking of important email messages, custom keyboard shortcuts and games. Users can enable or disable Labs features selectively and provide feedback about each of them. This allows Gmail engineers to obtain user input about new features to improve them and also to assess their popularity and whether they merit developing into regular Gmail features. All Labs features are experimental and are subject to termination at any time.
Gmail on iPad
On April 3, 2010, Google announced a new two-pane layout designed specifically for the iPad. It is delivered automatically to Gmail website users who are signed in using the device's Safari browser; they may choose to revert to the traditional layout or use the native IMAP client.