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Email is 50 years old, and still where it’s @

50 years ago this month, Ray Tomlinson sent the very first email. He was a programmer working on ARPANET, the system that laid the groundwork for what would become the internet as we know it today. He tested the messaging system by sending emails to himself, and later said that the first note was probably…

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50 years ago this month, Ray Tomlinson sent the very first email. He was a programmer working on ARPANET, the system that laid the groundwork for what would become the internet as we know it today. He tested the messaging system by sending emails to himself, and later said that the first note was probably something like “QWERTYUIOP.”

More than 30 years after this breakthrough, a Google engineer named Paul Buchheit conducted his own email experiments. In a 2005 blog post, Paul described the problem he was trying to solve:

“My email was a mess. Important messages were hopelessly buried, and conversations were a jumble…I couldn’t always get to my email because it was stuck on one computer, and web interfaces were unbearably clunky. And I had spam. A lot of it.” These pain points are part of what motivated Paul to come up with a better system — Gmail.

Buchheit created Gmail as a browser-based email program that allowed users to easily search their own messages. “With Gmail, I got the opportunity to change email — to build something that would work for me, not against me.” He wasn’t sure what the reception would be like, but when he released a beta to fellow Googlers, they wanted more.

Eventually, Gmail launched to the public on April 1, 2004. Its search function was lightning fast and it came with 1 GB of storage — 500 times more than prevailing inboxes of the time. But that wasn’t enough to convince people it wasn’t a joke. (The date — April Fool’s Day — likely had something to do with it.)

Despite the launch day hijinks, Gmail won consumers over, and became a central part of the work we do at Google. But we never could have done it if Ray Tomlinson hadn’t hit that @ sign and started it all 50 years ago. To celebrate, we asked a few Googlers to share their favorite Gmail hacks.

Laura Mae Martin, Executive Productivity Advisor

“It’s hard to answer old emails when there are shiny new ones coming in. Use features like Snooze and Starred emails and different inbox setups to make it easier to stay on task.”

John Shriver-Blake, Senior Product Manager, Gmail Enterprise

“I’m a fan of confidential mode in Gmail. It lets you protect sensitive information in messages and attachments and ensures that whoever receives the confidential email can’t forward, copy or print it.”

Neena Kamath, Product Lead, Gmail

“What I love about Gmail is how it’s evolved over the years. Fifteen years ago, I was obsessed with Conversation View! Back then, having all your emails about a single topic in one place hadn’t been done before, and it saved me so much time. Now, I’m obsessed with Smart Reply. It not only saves me time, but also makes me more polite : )!”

Bao Lam, Head of Marketing, Gmail & Chat

Schedule send in Gmail means that I don’t clutter up people’s inboxes if I’m catching up on emails at odd moments — which is especially helpful when so many of us are working across different time zones.”

You can learn more about the history of email, Gmail and the power of the @ sign over on the Cloud blog.

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Meet the entrepreneur connecting Kenyans to healthy food

When Binti Mwallau started Hasanat Ventures, her dairy processing company in Kenya, she expected some resistance from her peers in an industry dominated by men. But she was surprised to run into more skepticism from her customers. Despite her background in finance and biochemistry, many of them questioned her credibility as a woman entrepreneur.Worried that…

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When Binti Mwallau started Hasanat Ventures, her dairy processing company in Kenya, she expected some resistance from her peers in an industry dominated by men. But she was surprised to run into more skepticism from her customers. Despite her background in finance and biochemistry, many of them questioned her credibility as a woman entrepreneur.

Worried that her gender would affect Hasanat Ventures’ reputation, Binti considered hiring a man as the face of the business. But she eventually decided against it, standing firm in her pride as a solo founder and committed to tearing down the perception that women-run businesses in Africa aren’t as successful as those run by men.

“I think we should be challenging the outdated narrative that businesses run by men are guaranteed to be more successful,” Binti says. “Based on research, we’ve seen that businesses run by women actually perform better. We should use this as an opportunity to prove that as a woman, you do stand a chance to succeed in everything that you do.”

Just as important to Binti as breaking this bias was giving Kenyans more access to affordable nutrition. “I realized that many people couldn’t afford premium yogurt. So we entered the market with a high-quality product that’s affordable for lower and middle-income earners who have become more health-conscious,” she says.

Binti knew she had to drive awareness for her brand, particularly to reach Kenyans who needed convincing about yogurt’s health benefits. So she turned to Google Digital Skills for Africa, which offers virtual classes to help entrepreneurs grow their skills and businesses, and completed a digital marketing course to help her get Hasanat Ventures online.

“After participating in the course, we knew our online presence had to be bigger than just social media,” Binti says. “Now that we have a fully functional website, we are actually getting leads from outside Kenya.”

As part of the course, Binti learned how to use Google Analytics to measure her website’s performance. She could now monitor traffic insights, analyze pageviews and better understand who was visiting her site.

Binti’s determination and passion for her business are showing up in the results. In its first year, Hasanat Ventures supplied over 300 retailers with affordable dairy products. Three years later, it’s grown to support more than 50 farmers and even built its own production facility to keep up with demand.

“I really want to make sure that I am visible and speaking up in spaces women don’t usually have access to,” Binti says. “As Hasanat Ventures continues to grow, I am confident I can help change the perception of African women in business.”

58% of Africa’s entrepreneurs are women. That’s why we’re empowering them with the platform and tools to grow their businesses. Learn more about our #LookMeUp campaign, highlighting Africa’s women entrepreneurs like Binti who are working to break the bias.

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100 things we announced at I/O

35. The Google Home and Google Home Mobile software developer kit (SDK) for Matter will be launching in June as developer previews.36. The Google Home SDK introduces Intelligence Clusters, which make intelligence features like Home and Away, available to developers.37. Developers can even create QR codes for Google Wallet to create their own passes for…

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35. The Google Home and Google Home Mobile software developer kit (SDK) for Matter will be launching in June as developer previews.

36. The Google Home SDK introduces Intelligence Clusters, which make intelligence features like Home and Away, available to developers.

37. Developers can even create QR codes for Google Wallet to create their own passes for any use case they’d like.

38. Matter support is coming to the Nest Thermostat.

39. The Google Home Developer Center has lots of updates to check out.

40. There’s now built-in support for Matter on Android, so you can use Fast Pair to quickly connect Matter-enabled smart home devices to your network, Google Home and other accompanying apps in just a few taps.

41. The ARCore Geospatial API makes Google Maps’ Live View technology available to developers for free. Companies like Lime are using it to help people find parking spots for their scooters and save time.

42. DOCOMO and Curiosity are using the ARCore Geospatial API to build a new game that lets you fend off virtual dragons with robot companions in front of iconic Tokyo landmarks, like the Tokyo Tower.

43. AlloyDB is a new, fully-managed PostgreSQL-compatible database service designed to help developers manage enterprise database workloads — in our performance tests, it’s more than four times faster for transactional workloads and up to 100 times faster for analytical queries than standard PostgreSQL.

44. AlloyDB uses the same infrastructure building blocks that power large-scale products like YouTube, Search, Maps and Gmail.

45. Google Cloud’s machine learning cluster powered by Cloud TPU v4 Pods is super powerful — in fact, we believe it’s the world’s largest publicly available machine learning hub in terms of compute power…

46. …and it operates at 90% carbon-free energy.

47. We also announced a preview of Cloud Run jobs, which reduces the time developers spend running administrative tasks like database migration or batch data transformation.

48. We announced Flutter 3.0, which will enable developers to publish production-ready apps to six platforms at once, from one code base (Android, iOS, Desktop Web, Linux, Desktop Windows and MacOS).

49. To help developers build beautiful Wear apps, we announced the beta of Jetpack Compose for Wear OS.

50. We’re making it faster and easier for developers to build modern, high-quality apps with new Live edit features in Android Studio.

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New ways to stay connected and entertained in your car

With split screen mode, now standard across all screen types and sizes, you’ll have access to your most-used features all in one place — no need to return to your home screen or scroll through a list of apps. With your navigation and media always on, you won’t have to worry about missing your next…

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With split screen mode, now standard across all screen types and sizes, you’ll have access to your most-used features all in one place — no need to return to your home screen or scroll through a list of apps. With your navigation and media always on, you won’t have to worry about missing your next turn while changing your favorite commute podcast. And with the new design able to adapt to different screen sizes, it looks great across widescreen, portrait and more.

New features for Android Auto

Google Assistant is bringing contextual suggestions to help you be more productive in the car. From suggested replies, to messages, to sharing arrival times with a friend, or even playing recommended music, Google Assistant is helping you do more in the car efficiently.

In addition to using your voice, you can now quickly message and call favorite contacts with just one tap, and reply to messages by simply selecting a suggested response on the screen – helping you communicate effectively, while allowing you to keep your eyes on the road. Keep an eye out for these updates to Android Auto in the coming months

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