Gmail Launched April 1, 2004. The earliest email I have saved is 2/4/2005, and that is by far not the first email I used on Gmail, but the oldest one I saved, it was sharing some Counter Strike files that I had deleted before. I believe it was mid-to-late 2004 that I was first invited to use Gmail. I have tried to find out the exact date I started, and it is very difficult to find the exact date that ranges back that far. After a lot of forum threads, there are some people out there have saved every email every sent and suggested that I can look back to the first email to find out the exact date of creation. That wouldn’t work for me, I have used my Gmail exclusively for over 15 years; there is no way I could have saved every piece. 15GB is not even close to how large my mailbox would have to be for that type of use. I have sent Google a message requesting that information, but I’m not holding my breath on them getting back to me anytime soon. I do remember that Gmail was in the infant stages of development.
It’s virtually impossible to use the Internet and not know who Google is, but there was a day when there was no Google. We old school internet users had options like Web Crawler, Alta Vista, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, Lycos, and Excite. My personal favorites back when was Ask Jeeves and Web Crawler. I have been a Google fanboy for over a decade and have watched them change over time. Before they moved and created Android OS, before all the extras services, when it was all about a simple and best search engine on the Internet. Saving us all from the bloated web services from before. When they started to branch out with Google Labs, they tried a service called iGoogle, this is when start page (who remembers start pages?) were all the craze; it was a personal web portal launched in May 2005. I used it for years, the calendar, email widget, word of the day, morbid de jure, weather, all kinds of good stuff, but then it was discontinued. Unfortunately, it was not replaced by anything. Over the years Google has released services such as Maps (Feb 2005), Calendar (April 2006), YouTube acquisition in 2006, Google Voice (March 2009), Hangouts (May 2013), and many others that have come and gone. A nice compiled list can be found here. There are a couple newcomers to the internet search like Duck, Duck, Go, that focus on simple and private searches that I believe could be a contender someday. Google has broken the users trust more than a couple times over the decades of building its empire. Bing, and Yahoo is still around, but the market has been dominated by Google, and Chrome still holds market presents even on Apple devices.
It’s 16 years and counting, and I still use Gmail and Calendar for all my main communications and will use Voice and Hangouts until they remove those services. I have provided a service to Google via Local Guides with taking pictures of locations and providing details for others to use on Google Maps. I have over 1.6M views and many of those images are the default image for the location, even with hundreds of others uploaded. It’s been a personal goal of mine to give something back for all the years I have used their services for free, and until Google Maps stop using images, they should provide information to anyone who uses them. I still have multiple accounts and until I find a better service, they are still my main account, but I have been looking.