February 18, 2005 12:04 PM PST
Gmail moves to next stage
Google is giving more people the chance to sign up for Gmail, but the search giant insists the move does not signify an impending full-scale launch of the free e-mail service, which has been in beta since it launched on April 1 last year.
To date, Google has been relying on social networking to roll out Gmail, initially inviting some 2,000 people, who were then able to invite a limited number of others themselves. This week though, Google started sending invitations directly to those who have signed up to be kept abreast of updates to the service.
"We're sending invitations to those who supported us during the launch," said a Google representative. But she added, "This does not mean that we're out of beta (or) offering open subscriptions to the world."
A long winding
road out of beta
Is a two-year beta
really a test? Bloggers,
whether companies like
Google stretch the beta
concept too far.
Interest in the service has been high. It made a stir both because it kicked off the move toward bundling significant amounts of storage with free e-mail accounts--1GB in Gmail's case--and because of the revenue model, which relies on context-sensitive advertisements placed alongside e-mails as they are read.
Despite privacy concerns over Gmail, the service has proved alluring, with eBay at one point offering as many as 2,000 listings for Gmail invitations.
In another sign of the service's popularity, a number of utilities have appeared to help people manage their Gmail accounts.
Matt Loney of ZDNet UK reported from London.
2 commentsJoin the conversation! Add your comment