Gmail launched on April 1, 2004, as an invitation only beta release and became available to the public on February 7, 2007. Despite quickly gaining tens of millions of users, Gmail remained in open beta for over five years, until that label was finally removed in July 2009.
- For viewing unread messages in your inbox, you need to use the combination in:inbox is:unread in the Search function.
Google typically maintains significant and detailed documentation of their privacy practices and data handling. While they take some basic steps to protect their users from other companies' tracking practices, Google themselves intend to profit monetarily from the "free" email services they provide. Therefore, data about users is gathered stored, and processed for that purpose. Google makes its money from targeted marketing, based on data gathered from users of their "free" services. Therefore, potential users must decide--Gmail offers a robust feature set, reliable service, and does not charge money to individual users. In exchange for utilizing this service, users consent to Google gathering significant amounts of personal data, and monetizing that data through a variety of methods.
This practice of offering "free" email services in exchange for collecting user data for purposes of sale or other monetization, is not unique to Google's Gmail. Companies such as Yahoo and Microsoft’s Outlook use similar profit models. However, there are other providers who use different profit models which do not involve the collection of personal data from users, such as Proton Mail and Tutanota.
- How do I enable POP?. Google (2007-09-03). Retrieved on 2008-06-01. “You can retrieve your Gmail messages with a client or device that supports POP, like Microsoft Outlook or Netscape Mail.”
- How do I enable IMAP?. Google (2007-10-23). Retrieved on 2008-06-01. “You can retrieve your Gmail messages with a client or device that supports IMAP, like Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail.”
- Google opens Gmail to all, retrieved March 27, 2007
- Swartz, Jon (2007-11-22). Despite filters, tidal wave of spam bears down on e-mailers. USA TODAY. Retrieved on 2008-06-01. “For a start, tens of millions use Google's Gmail because it was designed with built-in spam defenses.”
- Perez, Juan Carlos (2007-12-10). Google Disables Some Gmail Accounts by Mistake. PC World. Retrieved on 2008-06-01. “Hohne said the mistakenly disabled accounts affected "a small fraction," well below 1 percent of the tens of millions of Gmail users.”