Sunday, April 1, 2007

Google announces Gmail Paper

Google has broken the mold once again. In an industry-shaking maneuver, Google announced today that it will be the first email service provider to print, organize, and send its customers emails...for free. The service, called Gmail Paper, will be provided at no cost to users, other than the obligatory advertisements located discretely on the back of the printed pages.

Gone are the days of intangible internet archives, Google claims. Users can request as many printed emails as they wish. There will be no charge for shipping and handling.

What accounts for this generosity? Certainly Google must plan to make a profit off of Gmail Paper in some manner. Albeit the company's pledge to not be evil, one cannot help but feel uneasy when inspecting the gift horse. After all, the advertisements seem subtle enough, but what's to prevent snoopy employees or other prying eyes from reading the contents and selling the information to advertising firms, or worse, the government? Google offers no clear privacy policy.

Responses to Google's radical program range the gauntlet. The most provocative have come from a certain April Folery, and she insists that Gmail Paper will be a thriving and lucrative business model. We can expect Yahoo to follow suit.

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