The Mountain View, Calif.-based Web giant on Friday plans to double the free storage on Gmail from 1GB to 2GB, said Georges Harik, Gmail product management director. After that, Google will add a yet-to-be-determined amount of extra storage daily, with no plans to stop.
The move highlights the seemingly inexhaustible storage needs of a small group of heavy e-mail users, and the sharply falling costs of online storage. Lifting pre-defined storage caps for Web-based e-mail could have broader ripple effects, Harik said, changing the way people think about quotas from something that is set in advance to something that grows with the user.
"We wanted to make sure we have a plan in place for when people reach their storage limit," he explained. "We don't want people to worry that they might run out."
Google first broke the e-mail mold on April 1, 2004, with an announcement so bizarre that many assumed it was an April Fool's Day joke. Gmail's 1GB of free storage at the time was widely thought to exceed the lifetime needs of most e-mail users without the need to delete a single file. By contrast, rivals such as Yahoo and Microsoft offered about 10MB of storage, seeking to charge customers who wanted more.
A slew of imitators scrambled to match and even exceed Google's free 1GB storage offer, transforming the Web-based e-mail business.
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