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So, finally, Google will release its email service today (NYTimes, News.com). This follows last week's launch of Google's new Look and some Lab features like Web alerts. One interesting thing: Google calculates the cost of providing a gigabyte of email storage at $2, which I presume includes the processing I bandwidth required to use the service.

The privacy question will now become even more complex:

At Google, one official said, the company has engaged in an intense debate over how extensively to exploit the content of e-mail.

Many people inside the company are worried that users might fear that the content of their e-mail messages could be used to tailor individual advertising messages, much as ad messages are now placed on pages tied to specific responses to search inquiries. Google hopes to quell any such concerns by assuring users that the content of their messages will remain private.

not to mention other additions:
Eric Schmidt, chief executive of Google, said he ``absolutely'' has plans to integrate Orkut into Google's search engine.

Another interesting thing, from the New York Times article:

It will be "soft launched," they said, in a manner that Google has followed with other features that it has added to its Web site, with little fanfare and presented initially as a long-running test.
This has a new definition of the word "soft launch"... what with an article in the New York Times and all... :)

As far as this being an April's Fools Joke... I found this press release by Google which does sound a bit, well, iffy. But then again there's a website for gmail which looks very much like the real thing (Including privacy policy, terms of use, etc). If this is indeed a joke, then some significant effort has gone into it (note that the articles include quotes from Google employees, so if it is a joke we have to presume that either a) the journalists are in on it or b) the employees continued with the 'joke' while giving unnatributed quotes). There are no disclaimers in any of the pages, and the HTML sources look clean too. Andrew (for example) is skeptical, to say the least :). I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on April 1 2004 at 8:18 AM

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