Everyone has an email story. Here is mine. I still remember the day when Email first came out. My Uncle explained it to me and said that on the internet you could type in an email and that it was better than regular mail because it took less time to get delivered. I asked him how many days it would take to get there, and he said, "a few minutes."
I was astounded to hear this because we were talking about international mail. A letter would take more than a week to get from New York to New Delhi in those days and email took only a few minutes. I could not get my mind around how this could even be possible. One of the first email accounts that I ever got was a Hotmail account when it was still a small independent company started by a brilliant guy from Silicon Valley.
But like many people, I have multiple email accounts. I still have my very first Hotmail account because it is the one address that all my friends and family know about. I have had this account for many years and even if the service goes down the drain, I still wouldn't give it up. I was a little concerned the day Microsoft bought Hotmail.
I was scared that it would no longer be a free service and that Microsoft would start charging people for using it. My fear was not helped by the many chain emails portending the end of free email. I am glad that Microsoft in all its infinite wisdom decided to keep Hotmail free because otherwise it would never have lasted for as long as it has.
My next email account was a Yahoo account. The main reason for signing up for a Yahoo account was to take advantage of the Yahoo Messenger service. This was in the days that instant messengers were very popular and AOL Instant messenger ruled. So I decided to go against the trend and get Yahoo as well as AOL. I used the email account that came with it and I still remember that it had very limited Inbox space so I had to constantly delete old emails to make room for the new ones.
Then one day, I received a gloating email from a friend of mine with a Gmail address. These new Gmail addresses boasted of unlimited space and could only be obtained by invitation. The elitist nature of Gmail made me hold out on signing up for a long time because I was happy with my old fashioned email that was for everyone.
When Gmail finally opened its doors and came out of Beta, I signed up for an account and never looked back. Now I have multiple Gmail accounts that I use for personal and professional purposes. Once I stopped using Yahoo Messenger, my Yahoo account fell out of use but I still continue to use my Hotmail account on a regular basis. I sometimes get emails from long lost friends and that is always a pleasant surprise.
Gmail is the new standard for email and any new email service will really have to be incredibly innovative to oust Gmail from its number one position. The best part is that one Google account lets you sign into a variety of free services. That will always make Gmail hard to beat. So that is my Email story, what's yours?