I think it was way back in the annals of internet history that I scored a Gmail account. It was by invite only, and a very exclusive club. Once I started using it Google gave me a very limited number of ‘invites’ that I could share with people that I knew. The very first invite was to my wife Jan. She was unimpressed “I have Yahoo, why would I want to fool with this”?  I explained that Gmail was better, it offered so much storage space that a mere mortal could never fill it up.

Well, this was six years ago, and 5 gig of space was a huge amount of space. Typing at 100 words a minute, 24 hours a day, it would take longer than the average life expectancy to fill it up!

Oh how times change. Google has always been generous with its storage capacity, 5 gig gradually became 7.5 gig. Of course the email landscape has also changed over the past 6 years. For me it is a way for authors to send books, musicians send songs, and others send pictures and videos. My wife jokes that I live in my email. She is probably not far from the truth. It has become a serious repository for data that I use. Over the past 6 years I have probably gone through at least a dozen computers, and probably two or three dozen reloads of various operating systems. The cute part is… I never lose data I care about. It all lives in the Cloud. My cloud being the aircraft hanger known affectionately as my inbox.

About a month ago I began to sense impending doom. My Gmail account was 96% full. I also noticed that of the 30K plus emails in it, almost 10k were still unread. Oh, the 10k were press releases, and other stuff that had come in unsolicited. I went on a serious cleaning up campaign. Hours later I whittled the unread number down to 3000. Exhausted, and concerned that I was going to wear out the delete icon, I checked on how much progress I had made. It wasn’t encouraging news. My account was 89% full! Doomsday was still approaching.

I took the only course of sensible action, forget about it and do something different.

At first I thought that google had noticed my feverish attempt at fixing my problem. Some Google employee had taken pity on me. When I checked my stats yesterday I discovered that my aircraft hanger had jumped from 7.5 gig to a whopping 10 gig!

This seems to be an across the board change, other gmail users are reporting the same change.

The question in my mind is why would they do this? It seems counter productive. They have just rolled out Google Drive which offers 5 gig of free storage, and obviously they want users, so why suddenly add an additional 2.5 gig to the email system?

Do not get me wrong, I love it all. These changes now mean that I have 15 gig of free storage!

It was a scant 30 years ago that the IBM PC made its debut and the storage medium was the 5 1/4 inch floppy drive with a breath taking 160 kilobyte capacity. I cannot recall the exact price for a floppy disk, but they were not exactly cheap. A dollar a disk would be a good guess. To compete with Google’s free 15 Gig today would have cost you a wallet busting $100,000 in 1982. It is food for thought.

Simon Barrett  


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