Gmail is real
Friday, Apr 02, 2004
No, really.

Real real real. Not "I have a friend who reads this guy's blog who claims to know for a fact" real. Not even "I read this guy's blog and he says it's not an April Fool's joke" real. Well, maybe for you, gentle reader, it's exactly that real, but for me it's "I came to work for Google and got handed a dream assignment to design the UI for a product that's going to change the world" real, and now I'm thrilled that my best kept secret was kept so well that even my close friends took the "it's gotta be a joke" path yesterday.

Nearly two months ago my Mom sent me an email, saying she read a piece in the newspaper speculating that Google was working on an email product.

"Really, Mom? That's interesting. It's funny how they press makes all kinds of speculations. First we're going IPO, then we're not, then we are, then we're waiting. We never said anything but the press likes to make stuff up."

Then I sent her email around to the team. Today several of them asked me if I'd come clean to my own Mom yet. I did. This morning. :-)

Where was I? Oh yeah. Free email, a gig of it. If you've been reading the paper or the blogs today, you've read about it, spun either as an April fools joke (though if it were only that it would be a pretty short-sighted jest: "Here's this great product! Ha-ha, fooled you!"), or a piece of ill-timed PR. In truth, as guessed by a few of the more circumspect bloggers, it was both and neither. A double-April-fools joke. Metapranking, if you will. Google-style fun with a big pot of gold at the end.

To me it's showing the world the wider viability of the Google aesthetic. Clean design, unobtrusive yet useful ads, a fast, powerful product that will literally change the way you "do email." Oh yeah, and a gig of space, too.

I'm reminded of a quote from Scott Adams:

"I say we should listen to the customers and give them what they want."

"What they want is better products for free."

Only here that kind of thinking isn't a Dilbert punchline.

Yay, Google.

(oh, and this screenshot, though cute, is totally fake)

Here are some real Gmail screenshots I took this afternoon. Link away!

If you like it, please share it.

Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
I've been blogging at since 1998.
I can be reached at .

I also have a resume.


I'm co-founder in
a fantastic startup fulfilling the promise of the Internet of Things.

The Imp is a computer and wi-fi connection smaller and cheaper than a memory card.

Find out more.

We're also hiring.


I post most frequently on Twitter as @kfury and on Google Plus.


I've led design at Mozilla Labs, designed Gmail 1.0, Google Reader 2.0, FriendFeed, and a few special projects at Facebook.

©2012 Kevin Fox