Google launches Gmail
1st April 2004
Google announce Gmail, a free email service, on April Fool's Day 2004. It proved very popular, and went on to become the largest email service in the world, overtaking Microsoft's Hotmail in 2012.
Google promised 1GB of free storage, which was a huge amount at the time. This led many to think that Gmail was an April Fool's prank, not helped by the fact that Google had become known for their April Fool's jokes since 2000.
WIRED magazine reported the Gmail announcement as follows:
Google’s much-lauded announcement of a soon-to-be-launched free e-mail service called Gmail generated widespread speculation online as to whether the offering is a hoax. While the announcement received voluminous media attention, skeptics looked to the wording of Google’s press release, which says the service provides a gigabyte of free storage, ‘quickly recalls any message an account owner has ever sent or received’ and ‘can already be used to read and send e-mail in most languages (even Klingon.)’