Google's Gmail has surpassed a billion users. The search company's Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai announced the milestone during the Google/Alphabet earnings call this afternoon. This marks the seventh Google property to reach the milestone. Gmail follows in the footsteps of Android, Chrome, Maps, Search, Youtube and the Google Play Store in reaching over one billion people.
The email service that was released in April 2004 was among the first to offer large storage space for users and robust searching across your inbox.
While Google products like Buzz, Wave, and Plus ended up duds that didn't see much success, Gmail saw large adoption, even when was the service was invite-only (as it was to begin with).
Having reported 900 million users in May 2015, spikes in growth can be attributed to numerous efforts, from new apps like Inbox on iOS and Android, to efforts to increase the amount of internet users in places like India.
Google kept Gmail relevant by evolving email over the yearsMost interestingly, this is not Google parent company Alphabet's first, nor second, but seventh product to reach the billionth mark. While direct competitors like Facebook proudly tout their (more than) 1.5 billion users of Facebook.com, Zuckerberg's other chat application Whatsapp only just crossed the 1 billion milestone, and Instagram is taking its sweet time.
Google Plus didn't go as the search company planned, but Google's other billion-user products like Android and Chrome allow for further profit-earning opportunities for Pichai and his team, primarily through advertising.
User count isn't the only billion Google can brag about. The company recently surpassed Apple as the world's most valuable company. While Google's market capitalization currently sits at $517.6 billion, the company is on track to reach an after-hours market cap of $570 billion — overtaking Apple's $535 billion to become the most valuable company in the world.
Cupertino is the company in tech known for making bank every quarter, but Alphabet's search giant-that-could proves that it's not all about the iPhone company.
Looking forward, the Google earnings call made reference to the company's "Other Bets," the divisions of Google's parent company Alphabet focused on so-called "moonshots," which were separated from the main Google (and Google's subsidiaries Android and YouTube) in a surprise corporate reorganization announced in summer 2015.
Google Plus didn't go as the search company planned, but Google's other billion-user products like Android and Chrome allow for further profit-earning opportunitiesThese Other Bets include self-driving cars, Nest smart home products and more. But the newly reorganized corporate earnings reporting structure reveals these companies are so far money-losers, to the tune of a collective $3.6 billion last year alone, as Motherboard notes. How Alphabet's leadership justifies these longer-term bets remains to be seen, but with Google and its related products like Gmail pulling in lots of cash that can be re-allocated to moonshots, it's probably not something that investors are too worried about. Investing in indexing the world's information and allowing you to share that information anywhere, on any device, puts Google and its parent company Alphabet in the interesting position of competing directly with Apple and Facebook, among others. Though if today's earnings call made anything clear, it's that Alphabet —and more importantly, Google— is more than up for the challenge.