Gmail LogoThis morning, I was checking my Gmail account, archiving old threads, responding to friends and what not. I looked to see how many Gmail accounts I have to giveaway when I was shocked to see that I have 50 invitations to give away. So if you’ve always wanted a Gmail account and have yet to get one, post a reply to this entry with your full name (first and last) and an e-mail address and I’ll send you an invite. Doesn’t get any easier than that does it?

What The Heck Is Gmail?
If you haven’t heard about Gmail some people may claim that you’ve been living under a rock, but I have plenty of friends and family that aren’t as plugged into the Web as others, so for their benefit, I thought I’d share a few details.

Gmail is a free web based e-mail service that was launched in April 2004 by Google. It’s a little different type of e-mail system in that it’s database driven. Gone are inboxes, outboxes and deleting of e-mails. Instead you “archive” your e-mail, which means that you don’t delete. To quote from a C|Net article:

“The idea is that your mail can stay in there forever,” said Wayne Rosing, vice president of engineering at Google. “You can always index it, always search it, and always find things from the past.”

With never having to delete an e-mail, it might appear that you’d fill up the measly 2MB that are typical of web based e-mail, but with Gmail, you have 2GB of storage! Originally Gmail came with 1GB, but they recently bumped it up to 2GB and may push it to larger and larger capacities as needed. So you never have to worry about running out of space, or that someone sending you a bunch of photos is going to overload your inbox.

Who Needs Another E-mail?
Since everyone who has Internet access already has an e-mail account, you might be wonder why the heck you’d need another one. Well, with the plague of SPAM rampant upon users everywhere, you might find that having a new e-mail address a welcome respite, but there’s more to it than that. Many experts agree that having one account for “public use” and one for “private” is a good way to head off SPAM before it even reaches your inbox.

For example, how many times are you required to provide an e-mail address in order to create an account on a web site, or post a comment? In those cases, pass out your “public” e-mail address, but when a friend asks for your e-mail, give them your “private” one. This way you can keep your private e-mail address as clean as possible.

Using Gmail for your public address is great because it offers fantastic SPAM protection. So even if you think having multiple accounts sounds like too much, you can always forward your current e-mail to your Gmail account to take advantage of the extra protection it offers from unwanted e-mail.

Sounds Good, Where Do I Sign Up?
OK, so you’ve read everything so far and you’re ready to sign up. All you have to do is go to the web site and sign up right? Wrong. Currently Gmail is in “beta” and has been for the past year, so the only way to get an e-mail account is for someone to invite you. Initially, getting a Gmail account was a bit of a geek badge of honor, but now they’re not so hard to come by. So if you want a Gmail account, you’re going to have to know someone that can invite you in.

Luckily, you know me and I have 50 to giveaway, so if you’d like a Gmail account, just post a reply to this entry with your first name, last name and e-mail address, and I’ll send an invitation as fast as I can. Once the 50 invites are gone however, I won’t have any more for a little while, so don’t wait too long.