Gmail is now open for everyone!

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I came to know of this yesterday, the 16th of February 2007 – the Gmail service is open for everyone. This good piece of news is from the Official Google Blog – From Gmail with >3. You no longer need a special invitation from existing Gmail user to get a taste of this fabulous service from Google.
Note: Existing Gmail members can still send invitations.

Does this mean that anyone can get a free Gmail account?

Yep! And, quick, here is the link – get your free Gmail account now!

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Gmail still reads your incoming email and throws up contextual advertising but it also comes with almost 3GB of storage (it was 2.8 gigs when I last checked). Unfortunately it remains in beta which means the folks at Google (God bless them!) still haven’t recognized it as a full service from their company. Pity, since most people I know cannot live without the gmail accounts.

IMPORTANT: Please refer a link below to open your Gmail account for free.

Also, now that Gmail is open to everyone I wonder when will Google add its link on their homepage? Not that Gmail users don’t know the URL… but… Can’t Google add it in front of the “Personalized Home” link or even under the “more” link. Google… are you listening?

Google, how about adding a Gmail link to your homepage?

On further deliberation, I think I know why the Gmail link hasn’t been added to the Google homepage. The clean look and no-nonsense Google homepage has been touted as one of the reasons for Google’s success as a search engine (in addition to the very relevant results that were produced by search queries). So me thinks that Google is quite wary of making changes to its homepage and why not… who wants to mess up a good thing, right?

But it would surely have been a good idea if a “Gmail is open to everyone” or “Get your Gmail account” kind of message was put on the Google homepage for a few days. They did it for Picasa; why not Gmail?

Any way, the exclusivity that was associated with Gmail is now gone.

Are all the features of Gmail available to everyone?

Yes, and I don’t think Google is going to scale down or remove any features. In fact, as they have proved in the past, the list of features and functionality of Gmail will only increase in the future. Here are some of the important features:

For those who want to know more, here is a list of all Gmail features.

Gmail opening for everyone – is this a positive step?

The very fact that anyone can now get a free Gmail account (just register… no need of special invitation), means that Google has had a fair bit of success with this service. The contextual advertising displayed beside the email messages has brought in money. On this point, the main issue that rocked Gmail when it started was privacy. Some people didn’t like the idea of their emails being read by a program (as if that program understood anything). Any way, what they forgot was that all email services read messages when they scanned them for viruses… so there! At least , I was happier getting text ads that mattered than some bright and gaudy banner ad offering a free holiday or a great match or… you know what I mean.

Also, I feel that Google is looking at a bigger picture. A free Gmail account (that does not require special invitation) might prompt some prospects to go in for paid versions of Google Apps.

IMPORTANT – Want a free Gmail account?: Step-by-step instructions with helpful screenshots can be found in the article on create a free Gmail account.