Nine People Who Thought Gmail Might Have Been an April Fools' Prank

By Ashley Feinberg on at

Gmail's officially entering its tender tween years today, and after a decade with the internet's favourite email service, we can barely even remember our lives without it. But then, that's why we have the internet—to remember for us.

Google chose a pretty dubious day to announce the birth of Gmail (April 1, 2004), so news outlets were understandably sceptical. But looking back with wizened eyes, their hesitancy isn't anywhere near as entertaining as the thought of Yahoo being a legitimate competitor to Gmail. So on this day of fools, let's look back at the beginning of what would soon become the NSA's wet e-dream— the largest store of personal information anywhere.

CNN Money:

However, Google's one gigabyte of storage claim led to some speculation about the Gmail announcement being a hoax since it took place on April Fool's Day. Google has pulled April Fool's jokes on the tech community before, including jokes about pigeons being the driving force behind Google's search technology and that Google was looking to start a new research centre on the moon.

In addition, the press release about Gmail was fairly goofy, including lines such as "Millions of M&Ms later, Gmail was born." For a look at the full press release, click here.

USA Today:

"It is April Fool's Day. We were having fun with this announcement. We are very serious about Gmail," Rosenberg said in an interview.

Still, the Web was buzzing with speculation.

"It's going to go down in history as one of the biggest pranks ever pulled," wrote one message poster at, which bills itself as a news provider for nerds.

That view was countered by others who noted the relatively low cost of storage and Google's registration of


For those who just couldn't believe there would ever be a 1 GB free email account (cancel your Hotmail subscriptions, folks), there's an official statement regarding Gmail.

Now what is left to discuss about? Of course: whether it's pronounced gee-mail or gmail. Or why Butler Jeeves of is half-naked today... ("Having Jeeves take off a few layers improves the page performance and besides, no one at an Internet company wears a suit anyway.") Most of all, it's time to say Farewell to Hotmail.

The Motley Fool:

It feels like April Fool's Day at Google. Like, really.

Last night, the search engine said it's kicking its competitive stance up a notch, announcing it will test free email. Scratch that — Gmail. The story, which has since been widely covered by news agencies including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, broke before midnight last night — but, folks, it is April 1, a day of merriment (and scrutiny).

Web Pro News:

In what could be an elaborate hoax, Google has announced they are launching GMail, a free email service. Boasting a storage amount of one gigabyte per user, Google's goal is to give enough storage so that users won't have to dispose of any emails.

This announcement came hours before April 1, 2004 (April Fools Day in the USA). The search engine giant, known for previous pranks (here and here), could be set to offer one of the largest storage facilities for email, ever. Or they could just be pulling the wool over our eyes.


Well I'm all for peace love and happiness, but I seriously have no clue how that could remain profitable, unless of course that one gig is space on your own hard drive

Erik's Weblog 2.0:

Until about 30 minutes ago, I though that Gmail was one of the best April's fool ever. I was actually somewhat disappointed when I received an invitation for the service.

I tried it. It was quite unimpressive. There's really nothing there I haven't seen before.

Web Developer's Notes:

Gmail was announced on April Fool's day and everyone thought the 1GB offer was nerdy joke from Google. The service also promised to be free of distracting flash and image banner ads - Gmail ads were relevant text advertisements.

Corante's Copyfight:

I'm a bit sceptical about Google's purported new 1GByte free email service that brings the power of Google to your email ("Gmail"). If it is a joke, it is brilliantly done with the knowing or unknowing assistance of the New York Times (reg. req.) among others (Google to Roll Out E-Mail Service). If it is a hoax, Google has even put out a diversionary April Fools message: Google Copernicus Centre is hiring.