Google’s Best April Fools Prank Was Gmail

Gmail was launched on April 1, 2004. The announcement, which most people dismissed as an April Fools joke went on to create a phenomenon which revolutionized technology.

Gmail was Google’s greatest April Fools prank that wasn’t. On April 1, 2004, Google Corporation, which by now was well-known for its April Fools pranks, announced that it would launch a free email service which will offer its users 1 GB of storage instead of 2-4 MB offered by Hotmail. Well, that along with the announcement for job openings on the moon.

The proposition that an average email user would never have to delete an email again was deemed too good to be true and thus dismissed as an April Fools prank by many. Skip to ten years later, Gmail has successfully managed to revolutionize email technology.

In a recent Time magazine report, Georges Harik, the then director of Google's in-house start-up incubator, said “If you’re far enough ahead that people can’t figure out if you’re joking, you know you’ve innovated.” He went on to add that “Primarily, journalists would call us and say ‘We need to know if you’re just kidding, or if this is real.’ That was fun.”

The legacy of Gmail, on a grand scale, is immense. Even the users of other email providers are indebted to Gmail.

Since its inception, major email providers like Hotmail and Yahoo rapidly innovated in order to meet Google’s standards. Eventually, days of slow email service, low memory, abundance of spam and terrible search functions were long gone.

Thank you Google.

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