It's a special day, not just emails birthday (which I've been posting posts for for about... eh... 6 years) but an anniversary! So I decided to kick it up a notch with some email history. It won't bore you, promise. Let's skip really quickly through the years. So, how did it start?
Well, back in the dawn of hellishly expensive electronical apparature, MIT graduate Ray Tomlinson was working with ARPANET (a military network) and was assigned to modify a program named SNDMSG, used to send messages between users on the same computer. It took a while, but in October 1971 he cracked it! The first email ever sent traveled a distance of one meter between two separate computers. One small step for a message, one giant leap for mankind. He also invented the @ character, to separate the recipient/network.
Since then email's been used intensely within ARPANET, but it wasn't until the 1990s and the introduction of the World Wide Web that the entire populace were allowed to embraced this great technology. Along came Hotmail, the first well-known free email provider. They offered a service nobody else did, and their servers were soon so flooded and overloaded it kept their email service from evolving or expanding for more than a decade.
During this time the alternatives started popping up, among them Yahoo, one who has managed to stay alive throughout a decade while all the other bright hopes died down and either disappeared or were lost in the shadows. Sure a few big ones like Mail and AOL still live on, but it's no longer the email heyday and it seems they've had to settle for the sidelines. As the competition increased, so did the need for a change with Hotmail, and they have changed (though maybe a bit late) to the better, expanding their available space per account to match the competition; with a sleek design to move into web 2.0.
Not too long ago Gmail popped up, and instantly things changed for the better, not just with Gmail (which is IMHO the best email client ever) but with all others who tried to stay in the game. A few notable mentions that could've revolutionized the platform were Flash-based Goowy nd others with insane file-size limits upto 1GB or more, but for the moment there are three giant providers that you can rely on. Hotmail (AKA Live), Yahoo & Gmail. Mail & Hush are a pair of survivors with not so great service, but with unique features that grant them a special fanbase; place in this list.
Despite the growth of text messaging, email doesn't seem to be slowing down at all! Back in 2001 31 billion emails were sent daily; in 2008 it was up at 171 billion per day. In 2010, it was 291 billion! And I'm sure that number will only continue to increase. Happy Birthday E-mail!