The History of Email

In 2010, everyone has at least one email address. It is hard to remember a time when we didn’t have one and now, it is almost a social faux pas to not have an email to pass on to a new acquaintance or business contact. How can we live without email?
Cast your mind back twenty years and hardly anyone had their own email account. The internet had just taken off in 1991 and people were only using office and PC based email exchanges.
In the mid 1990s external email providers emerged. The most famous of these was Hotmail, the first free email provider and web-based email service. Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith launched Hotmail Essay On How Technology Has Changed Our Lives on July 4, 1996, the same day as American Independence day. The name was derived from the uppercase letters spelling out HTML -the coding language used to write the base of a webpage.
Microsoft took note and bought Hotmail for $400 million on December 30, 1997, a nice birthday present for Bhatia who turned 29 that day. It was re-launched as MSN Hotmail and in 2007 was re-launched again as Windows Live Hotmail.
Fast forward to present day and we most of us have at least a personal web-based email account and work account, sometimes more. It seems impossible to live without them. One of the biggest advantages of email is the fact that communication has become so much easier, especially with those across different time zones. Email takes seconds to send whereas letters, as we used to communicate, could take weeks. Of course there was the fax, that beeping invention from the 1980s, but it wasn’t as secure as email and you never knew if the person on the other end had picked up your fax or if it had got lost somewhere in the office.
In conclusion, one of the best inventions from the 90s has to be email. But is a backlash coming? Sometimes people are too connected to their email and have a compulsion to check it several times a day. At work, people have become lazy and instead of going to speak to the Small Tech Companies person sitting next to you, they send an email, causing an inbox pile up with more time spent reading emails and responding than working. Paradoxically, an invention that saved time because of its quick and speedy connection can snow also causes us to waste a lot of time.

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