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Is there a future for the 1Gig email services?

By xcell4ose in Internet
Sun Oct 17, 2004 at 09:19:40 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

We all remember April 1st when Google announced its new Gmail web-mail service with an overwhelming 1Gig storage space. Their mere announcement brought a new wave of 1Gig web-mail services such as Walla , Spymac and more. Since they don't charge for the service, their plan is to profit from advertisement revenue stream.
It's been 6 month now, and Gmail is still in beta stage and many competitors are joining the scene on an almost daily basis.

In the last month or so a new unexpected (some will argue different) development took place - GmailFS .
From the developer website: "GmailFS provides a mountable Linux filesystem which uses your Gmail account as its storage medium..... GmailFS supports most file operations such as read, write, open, close, stat, symlink, link, unlink, truncate and rename. This means that you can use all your favourite unix command line tools to operate on files stored on Gmail (e.g. cp, ls, mv, rm, ln, grep etc. etc.)."

This was the first in a line applications that use Gmail 1Gig storage space in a way Google didn't plan.

Today we can see a variety of applications that utilize Gmail as a new storage space. While GmailFS is for linux OS, Gmail Drive is its Windows twin.
A new file sharing program named Peer2Mail uses web-mail services (Gmail included) to share and store files.

The problem begins where both "Gmail Drive" and GmailFS make Gmail transparent and skip the advertisement business model. Peer2Mail doesn't harm the services in such a way since it works alongside the web-mail service (not bound to Gmail).

The question is how will Gmail will react to the new abuse threat by these applications? Will they back down and lower the size of the mail boxes? Or maybe limit the bandwidth usage? Some will argue that once they registered to the service, they can use their mail boxes to store any kind of information, it could be text or multi media. Some will argue that by doing so you abuse the free service.

Either way, I think that technology development is always a good thing, and it profits us all.


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Related Links
o Google
o Gmail
o Walla
o Spymac
o GmailFS
o Gmail Drive
o Peer2Mail
o Also by xcell4ose

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Is there a future for the 1Gig email services? | 26 comments (20 topical, 6 editorial, 1 hidden)
TOS change, would be my guess (2.50 / 4) (#4)
by RandomLiegh on Sat Oct 16, 2004 at 11:09:13 AM EST

something like "using the gmail service in an unauthorised manner will be cause for immediate account closure without warning", perhaps specifically stating a few examples (with the gmailfs right at the top).

Thought of the week: There is no thought this week.
Well, um (2.92 / 14) (#6)
by mcc on Sat Oct 16, 2004 at 01:03:59 PM EST

What you don't mention is that the GMail TOS already is designed to deal with things of this nature.

Some will argue that once they registered to the service, they can use their mail boxes to store any kind of information, it could be text or multi media.

Google meanwhile will probably argue that once someone has registered to the service, they have agreed by clickthrough to a terms of use document which explicitly says:

You also agree that you will not use any robot, spider, other automated device, or manual process to monitor or copy any content from the Service.
So people are free to store what they like in their gmail accounts. However gmail has reserved the right upfront to terminate the service of people who access the service by automated ad-circumventing means.

Meanwhile, since gmail gets to craft the html of gmail's pages-- which contains some pretty complex javascript-- however they like, they have the capacity at any time to break "screen scraper" type programs which access gmail simply by changing the page enough that the scraper programs no longer recognize it. In fact, they have taken steps to do exactly this in the past. For example the week that Google released their "gmail notifier" program for the windows taskbar, there were reports that the third-party screen-scraping notifier programs which already existed had suddenly been rendered inoperable by a subtle change google had made to gmail's generated pages.

if you can't beat'em, join 'em (2.66 / 3) (#7)
by adimovk5 on Sat Oct 16, 2004 at 04:18:48 PM EST

Google should enter into joint ventures with Gmail Drive and the others. In return for allowing Google advertising, the 3rd party software companies could participate in the expanded revenue stream.

This would encourage the future creation of software that utilizes the Gmail storage system.

Third parties that refuse to participate should be prosecuted for misuse of Google property.

Uh right (2.33 / 6) (#14)
by The Fifth Column on Sun Oct 17, 2004 at 11:59:29 PM EST

Or Google could NOT do that, tell these cheapass moochers to fuck off and change the page format so it can be used for, oh, I dunno, email.

You goddamn Google fetishists make me sick.

A man shall not lay down with another man and ravage his reeking, unshaven cornhole.
[ Parent ]

I'd like a good pay email. (2.00 / 2) (#8)
by Sen on Sun Oct 17, 2004 at 02:28:00 AM EST

I see no reason to skimp on something that could land me a job. I'm looking at .mac, which features this functionality but without the sneakiness. Any other good solid email providors? I don't want to be tied to an ISP or university even. Oh, and netaddress.com sucks (have it now).

I personally (none / 0) (#9)
by ZorbaTHut on Sun Oct 17, 2004 at 04:55:35 AM EST

use mailsnare.net.

Not a paid advertisement or anything, just a happy customer. YMMV.

[ Parent ]

happy customer (none / 0) (#12)
by Xoder on Sun Oct 17, 2004 at 06:52:51 PM EST

I'm a real big fan of fastmail.fm

Wicked fast, IMAP access, and if you are willing to pay every year, up to 2GiB storage (and POP too)

Lately I've been hearing that god's on our side But rumor has it, there's one on their side too So what I'd like to know is, when it comes down to it, can my god kick their god's ass or what?
[ Parent ]

I recommend using the cyberthalamus for email (3.00 / 3) (#15)
by The Fifth Column on Mon Oct 18, 2004 at 12:08:38 AM EST

I thought it up one day while I was cutting my balls off with my life crystal.

A man shall not lay down with another man and ravage his reeking, unshaven cornhole.
[ Parent ]

good paymail (none / 1) (#16)
by housetier on Mon Oct 18, 2004 at 04:17:11 AM EST


[ Parent ]
"It profits us all" (1.12 / 8) (#18)
by redrum on Mon Oct 18, 2004 at 09:12:18 AM EST

What the fuck kind of English is that? "We profit/benefit from it" or "It is beneficial for us" would do, but jesus christ, wake up and read what you're writing.

Re (none / 1) (#20)
by akalin on Mon Oct 18, 2004 at 03:20:53 PM EST

Correct english, apparently:

prof·it ( P ) Pronunciation Key (prft) v. tr. To be beneficial to.

[ Parent ]
-1, pot kettle black (nt) (none / 1) (#21)
by dgswensen on Mon Oct 18, 2004 at 04:51:39 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Suggestion to fix open source vs ads conflicts (2.00 / 2) (#19)
by Highlander on Mon Oct 18, 2004 at 01:57:55 PM EST

I suggest that open source programs voluntarily should come with a default configuration to show the ads of the underlying service, e.g. google, or that gaim shows yahoo/messenger ads.

It somehow can't mix that free software uses commercially owned servers as a base without providing something in return.

Moderation in moderation is a good thing.

Future is (a) Bright, (b) Dark (none / 1) (#22)
by Toshio on Tue Oct 19, 2004 at 04:01:52 AM EST

Every time I see a story about unplanned and/or unauthorized ways of using legitimate services, it strikes me how blind must some people be. It's not about TOS, it's not about advertisement, it's not about e-mail storage. In my eyes it's more and more about mobility.

Here's my two-word pet theory on why USA economy managed to grow faster than EU economy: JOB MOBILITY. The knowledge that you can always say enough and move on to some job that rewards you more in a way that matters to you personaly. Many employers in EU demand and value employee loyalty above anything else. They frown upon any person that has changed jobs more than... let's see... two times, cosidering it a sign of unreliability.

And what does all of this have to do with GMail and 1GiB mail storage places? Single, but crucial point: MOBILITY. In this case not just job mobility, but rather an information mobility. It seems to me that more and more people are using more and more different computers in different places. Work/home being just one part of the equation. More and more people are mobile on the road and would like the benefits of haing all the data accessible all the time.

One of the hardest processes to explain to less-than-brilliant computer users is concept of synchronization. Process that gives them more or less same view and version of their data wherever they are. It seems that, in their eyes at least, the solution to the problem happens to be extremely simple: give me disk/e-mail combo that I can access from anywhere and anytime. These GMail applications are perhaps the most powerful indication that this just might be the case.

In this case it's not about information wants to be free. It's all about I want to be free to access all of my information. If I travel a lot and have many presentations to deliver on the road, why not use gmailfs for storing my presentations? Notebooks can be stolen, CD-ROMs can be fried on sunlight, luggage can be lost, ... Need I continue enumerating all the horror stories that can & will happen to you? Maybe Joe in the office just finished new calculations for some meeting and send it to me with my mail. Unfortunately for some weird reason (VPN/NAT incompatibility, limited outgoing ports, no access to webmail, ...) you can not read your personal mail from company server, but you can still access web based e-mail services.

Head honchos in corporations should take a note here: it's nice to have strong security policies in place, but they are an obsticle when they prevent your employees from conducting business. People try to do their work with minimum hassle possible, so they are always keen on embracing any technology that will help them keep the hassle down. One way is to ignore the need to access all the data all the time and place policies that make using gmailfs-like solutions reason for dismissal. The other way is to embrace the changing needs of workforce and try to address concerns arising from using such services.

Perhaps Google will one day offer this file/e-mail combo solution. Perhaps with even more than 1GiB of space. I can only hope that people will see this for what it is: information storage. With this service, companies could probably sign-in to have their employees use the service to their advantage. Corporations could probably buy Google-boxes doing the same just for their corporation. Google will probably provide obstacles for intruders to snoop on traffic (SSL/TLS) without the need for some expensive VPN solution. After all, if it is THAT SECRET, what do you need it outside the company.

One could say, yes, the future is here. Unfortunately too much hinges on just a few cabals that are know to find illegal use in every new concept or technology. They have too much political power and much too much legal cannons to be ignored and dispensed with. Just like CD-R can be used to make a backup, so it can be used to copy an album. Disk can be used to store databases, or it can be used to store porn. There will always be people abusing the tools and technology. How about *hint, hint* we make the cabals deal with them, while we do what we do best: invent new tools.

--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
Well (none / 0) (#24)
by focitrixilousP on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 11:06:52 PM EST

Google tends towards not evilness, so I doubt they will start deleting accounts for this. They may start adjusting the code of gmail so that the updates to gmailfs are so frequant it no longer is an effective solution. Again, if google would work out some kind of solution with the makers of these programs to display ads somehow. ie:

$cp /usr/bin/firefox /gmailfs
Try Opera Browser - free trial ---
Remote Host X - $9.95/month - 10 Gb Storage - www.remotehostx.com ---

Not all that irritating, the advertisers are happy, you get a free gig of remote storage, everyone wins.
- 1.21 Gigawatts!

The idea of invitiation only. (none / 0) (#25)
by bulk sms on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 08:19:37 PM EST

This might not be the right place to ask, but i have 2 questions: 1. Why did Google present Gmail on an invitation only basis? 2. Who got the first invitation through which the rest spread?
Save me please from my life of sms online!
Google on the prowl (none / 0) (#26)
by kanujbhatnagar on Sat Apr 30, 2005 at 04:48:31 AM EST

Every few days a Gmail util pops up, and the last time I checked, the Linux/Open source version of Gmail Mail checker's users were given a warning by Google itself to not to use such s/w to access their service. So google could be blocking users accounts if they continue to use such tools.

Is there a future for the 1Gig email services? | 26 comments (20 topical, 6 editorial, 1 hidden)
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