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What is Gmail?

The Gmail or Google Mail is a free email service introduced by Google. It allows sending and receiving mails over the Internet.

We can also send an email to multiple users at a time. The Gmail site is a type of Webmail.

We can access the Gmail from Web and as an application in Mobile devices. We can also use the third-party program to access the Gmail. Such programs synchronize the email content through the protocols IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) or POP (Post Office Protocol). Some basic details of Gmail are listed below:

Developed By Google LLC
Created by Paul Buchheit
Created on April 1, 2004
Available Languages 105
Initial Storage Capacity 1 Gigabytes (GB)
Current Storage Capacity 15 Gigabytes
Project Code name Caribou
Global Active Users 1.5 billion +
Percentage account of all emails 27 %
Huge storage capacity increase Year - 2012
2 GB to 7.5 GB to 10GB
Registration Yes
Subscription For personal use only-Storage allowed upto 30 TeraBytes
Written in programming Languages Java, JavaScript/Ajax
C++ and Java on the server side
License Proprietary
Website URL https://mail.google.com/
Compatibility All devices
User Interface Designer Kevin Fox

The storage capacity at the time of launch was Gigabytes, which is extended upto 15 Gigabytes today. The receiving capacity of emails is 50 Megabytes per user while sending capacity is 25 Megabytes, including attachments.

The exchange of emails in Gmail can include text or messages, graphics, videos, and audio.

Initially, Gmail was created on April 1, 2004, and ended its testing on July 7, 2009. The storage capacity was 1 GB, which was quite a large amount offered compared to other competitors at that time.

The Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) web development techniques were early adopted by Gmail rather than other web developers.

Gmail also covers 94% of the languages spoken by Internet users worldwide. We can insert the files from Google Drive in order to send larger storage files.

The search interface in Gmail is similar to the Search forum on the Internet.

The server of Google can automatically scan multi-purpose emails and can also filter malware and spam mails.

Features of Gmail

The features of Gmail are listed below:

  • Free to Use
    Gmail offers 15 Gigabytes of free storage capacity. We are not required to delete the mails for storage issues. On April 24, 2012, Google announced the storage share with Google Drive, Google + Photos, and Gmail. The overall storage is 15 GB.
  • Storage Capacity
    The users can increase their storage capacity by opting the monthly subscription plans from Google One. The storage is shared among the three platforms (Google Drive, Google + Photos, and Gmail).

    The paid plans are available upto 15 Terabytes (TB) for personal use.
    The allowed storage for sending emails including attachment should not be greater than 25 Megabytes (MB).

  • Multiple Account Support
    We can use both non-Gmail, and Gmail addresses directly from the Gmail app. The non-Gmail addresses include Yahoo mail, Outlook.com, or any other IMAP or POP email.
  • Organized
    The messages in Gmail are grouped into promotions, social, and primary categories. These messages are sorted and grouped according to the categories. We can read messages from the Business, family, and friends easily.
  • Accessibility
    The messages or emails can be easily read from the respective categories. The messages are also safe. Any user can easily use the features of the Web and app. We can find any message with the help of the search box.
    It also allows us to read and respond to the messages anytime at any place.
    The new mails can be quickly received via push notifications.
  • Spam Filter
    The Spam Filter allows a user to mark the mails as Spam. It identifies similar mails from the Spam ID in the future.
  • Interface
    The user interface of Gmail focuses on Search, the grouping of messages in a single page, conversation threading of emails, etc. Various competitors have further copied the method.
    Kevin Fox was a UI (User Interface) designer of Gmail that intended users to focus on the single page rather than navigating on other pages. He also created the interface of Google Reader, Google Calendar, and Friendfeed.
  • Languages
    Gmail is available in various languages, which makes it accessible to users all over the world.
  • Search
    The search box is available like the Search on the Internet. We can use the search bar to search for events from Google Calendar and Google Sites. We can also search for contacts and files that are stored in Google Drive.
  • Language Input Styles
    Gmail offers various language styles that help users to write the languages limited by the keyboard.
    Google added various input method editors, transliterations, and over 100 virtual keyboards in October 2012 to Gmail.
    Google added a handwriting input support in October 2013 to Gmail.
    In August 2014, Gmail introduced letters and ascent marks. It allows users to receive and send mails outside the Latin alphabet.

History of Gmail

  • Paul Buchheit started working for the personal email project during his college time. In the 1990's he already inspected the idea based on Web email.
  • On April 1, 2004, the limited beta edition of Gmail by Google was announced.
  • In July 2008, the ability to enable the secure mode was simplified by Google.
  • The increase of storage from 2 GB to 7.5 GB was announced by Google on April 24, 2012.
  • A new security feature by Google was introduced in June 2012. This feature aimed to protect users from the state-sponsored attacks. It said that, a banner on the top of a user's account will warn the user for unauthorized access and account compromise.
  • The storage was further increased to 15 GB on May 13, 2013.
  • Google announced encrypted HTTPs connection in March 2014. The connection was used to send and receive mails of the Gmail. Each message in Gmail was 100% encrypted.
    Gmail also uses TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol to encrypt the sent and received emails. The incoming messages are automatically scanned by Gmail for viruses. Only some file types are not allowed in Gmail for security reasons.
  • On July 2017, Google announced the identification of emails with spam and phishing using the Machine Learning It resulted in 99.9% accuracy.
  • It also announced that the system can delay approx 0.05% of messages for detailed analysis.

Main Categories in Gmail

All the emails in our Gmail account are divided based on five categories, which are listed below:

1. Primary

The primary tab includes all the important emails, like emails from our contacts. It is considered as the main Inbox of our Gmail account.

It also includes some non-classified emails.

We can also move any email to the primary folder.

2. Social

The social tab includes all the email from social websites, such as YouTube, Facebook, etc.

3. Promotions

The Promotions category contains all the emails related to marketing and promotional offers.

4. Updates

The Updates category is a similar category like Social, promotions, and Primary. It includes receipts, statements, bills, confirmations, notifications, etc.

5. Forum

It is a group in Gmail that allows people of a group to work together online. People with similar interests can easily collaborate.

The forum was particularly created for organizations, teams, groups, etc. to communicate together.

Available Folders

The entire list of folders is visible on the left side of Gmail's Home page, as shown below:

What is Gmail

The folders available in Gmail are listed below:

  • Inbox
    The inbox folder includes all the received emails. The received emails are categorized into Promotions, Social, and Primary.
  • Starred
    All the mails marked as 'Starred' will appear in the Starred folder.
    We are required to click on the star to mark a mail as Starred.
  • Snoozed
    The mail marked with snoozed is made to reappear in our inbox according to the selected time. We can set the time for the mail to reappear in our inbox with a pop-up.
  • Important
    The Important folder includes the messages with the important label.
  • Sent
    The Sent folder includes all sent emails.
  • Draft
    The draft folder includes messages that are not completed, and we want to send those emails later.
    We can also edit the mails again while sending them from the draft folder.
  • Chats
    The Chats folder consists of the Google Hangout conversation.
  • Scheduled
    The messages or emails in the scheduled folder will be sent at their scheduled time.
  • Spam
    The suspicious emails that are automatically identified by the Gmail come under the Spam category. The Spam folder contains all mails marked by Gmail or us as spam.
  • Trash
    The deleted messages are transferred to the trash folder for 30 days. We can also recover the deleted message from the trash folder. After 30 days, messages will be permanently deleted from the Trash folder and cannot be recovered.

Platforms

Gmail has two platforms, which are discussed below:

1. Web

The basic HTML version of Gmail can run on all browsers. But the modern Ajax version is supported in a released version of web browsers, such as Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.

Gmail can run offline on Google Chrome. We can download it from the Web Store of Chrome.

The Gmail Web page appears like the image shown below:

What is Gmail

We can also access Gmail from the web browser on the mobile device.

2. Mobile Application

The Gmail application is available for iOS and Android devices.

Google introduced the Gmail app for Android in November 2014. It allows receiving and sending emails from non-Gmail addresses through IMAP/POP. The Gmail was further redesigned for iOS in November 2016.

The update includes many features like sleeker transitions, spelling suggestions to improve search results, use of more colors, Swipe (to Archive/Delete) mail feature, Undo, Send, etc.

The app was added with the security from the phishing attack in May 2017. Later, a "Smart Reply" feature was added based on Machine Intelligence followed by other languages.

We can use the IMAP or POP protocols to access Gmail from the third-party programs.

The Home page of Gmail app looks like the image shown below:

What is Gmail

Design Updates

Some of the major design updates by Google for Gmail are listed below:

  • The Gmail Lab feature was introduced by Google in 2008.
  • Google started redesigning Gmail to give it a more consistent look in 2011. The changes include high-quality themes, a streamlined conversation view, etc.
  • Google updated the inbox tab in year 2013.
  • A new web User Interface (UI) was introduced by Google for Gmail in 2018. Other updates include two-factor authentication, confidential mode, etc.
  • The Spam folder got a new design in April 2018.
  • The dark mode for Android and iOS was introduced by Google in 2019.

Google Meet in Gmail

The Google Meet was launched by Google in March 2017, that helps users to start a meeting online from Gmail. The video conference was limited to 30 users. The limit varies according to the subscription plans of G Suite, which includes 100 users for Basic, 150 for Business, and 250 for Enterprise plan.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the access made free for consumer accounts after May 2020.

The free Meet calls can have participants limit upto 100. The participant limit for G Suite users is 250, while 25 for Hangouts.

We need a Google account to start a meet using Gmail.

It appears on the sidebar of the Gmail Home page, as shown below:

What is Gmail

We need to click on the 'Start a meeting' to start a meeting from Gmail. The meeting contains the video and mic (for sound) option. We can ON/OFF the video or mic icon by clicking on it.

We can also start the meeting using our mobile device through the Google Meet app available on the Play Store. We need to click on the 'Join Now' option to join the meeting.

Relation with Google products

  • The plug-in provides the Google chat and voice with Gmail that was introduced in August 2010. Later, it was replaced with Google Hangouts.
  • The sharing of media and links was introduced by Google in February 2010. The tool Google Buzz was integrated with Gmail. Later, it was replaced with Google+.
  • The Google wallet integrated with Gmail was introduced in May 2013 by Google. It allows sending money as an email attachment with no transaction fees. It was initially available on the web. It was expanded to mobile applications for users in the United States in 2017.
  • The Google Trips app was introduced by Google in September2016, which generates travel cards commonly for car rentals, plane tickets, and commodities. The app was further updated in 2017 that allows scanning for train and bus tickets.

Security Methods in Gmail

The security methods are listed below:

1. Third-Party Encryption

According to the Google Transparency Report, the percentage of information based on the encrypted emails is provided in transit between the third parties and Gmail.

2. Lockdowns

Any unknown usage or activity can cause lockdown of an account for one minute to 24 hours, such as:

  • Sending huge undeliverable messages.
  • If we are deleting, downloading, or receiving many emails from IMAP/POP in a short span.
  • Using external or third-party software and extension.

3. Two-Step Verification

The two-step verification method is provided by the Gmail for safe login. The users are required to verify their identity while login in from a new device.

For example, entering a code sent to the user's registered mobile number.

The verification using a security key was introduced by Google in 2004.

4. Anti-Child Pornography

The policy works in conjunction with the NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) to find children abuse. Google creates the database for such pornography pictures. Every image is scanned; looking for a hash (a number is given).

Any doubtful image found is reported to the national authorities.

Growth

The global active users announced by Google in respective years are listed in the below table.

Year Global Active Users
2012 425 Million
2015 900 Million
2016 1 Billion+
2017 1.2 Billion
2020 1.5 Billion+

Gmail became the first app on Android devices to cross 1 Billion in the year 2014. The global active users today are more than 1.5 billion.

Awards

  • The ranking of Gmail was second in the list of PC World's "100 best products of 2005". The first ranking was of Firefox.
  • In the Bottom-Line Design Awards of the year 2005, it also won the 'Honorable Mention' Award.
  • Gmail was also declared as the best webmail application by Forbes in September 2006. The application was awarded for use in small businesses.
  • Gmail received a 4-star rating according to the PC's World in November 2006.

Privacy terms

Gmail has only one privacy policy that covers all the privacy methods, which is automatic scanning of emails.

Automatic Scanning of Emails

The emails are scanned automatically by Gmail for various purposes, such as filtering malware and spam. It also includes context-sensitive related advertisements next to the emails.

Privacy Issue

The major privacy issue faced by Google was the China Attack.

China Attack

The cyberattack in 2010 originated from China was faced by Google. The companies with a wide business range and Chinese human rights activists were targeted. After the attack, Google has enhanced the security and privacy terms of its system. It advised users to install anti-spyware and anti-virus on the computer system. Google also warns users to be cautious of clicking any external links.

Subscription Plans

The Subscription plans are available from the G Suite app.

Each plan includes access to Google apps.

There are three plans, which are listed below:

1. Basic Plan

The cost of the Basic plan is Rupees 210 INR / user /month. The amount can change based on the offered discount.

The included applications are shown below:

What is Gmail

2. Business Plan

The cost of the business plan is Rupees 840 INR / user /month. The amount can change based on the offered discount.

The included applications are shown below:

What is Gmail

3. Enterprise Plan

The cost of the Enterprise plan is Rupees 1650 INR / user /month. The amount can change based on the offered discount.

The included applications are shown below:

What is Gmail





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