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InsideGoogle
Sunday, November 14, 2004
 
Gmail Beta All About Patents?
According to this article on TechUser.net, at least part of the reason Gmail is invite-only and still in beta is because Google is waiting on some patent applications. Basically, Google patented the idea of scanning emails for content and serving ads based on them. Google will not make Gmail widely available until the patent is settled. Google is hoping that by having slow growth, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail won't be so alarmed that they will overhaul their systems (which they so far haven't) and try to provide the same targeted ads. If Google can win the patent, not only will they lock out Hotmail and Yahoo from a very successful revenue source, they could possibly make money licensing the technology. Definitely an interesting way of looking at it. The whole article, titled "The Webmail Wars", is worth reading.

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