July 26th, 2011.
Today I was looking though some old emails and I discovered that I actually did at some point in time own a HOTMAIL account. So out of curiosity I went to Hotmail.com and tried to log in. After a few failed attempts and a password reset I finally logged in. Its kind of weird coming back to Hotmail! When I was in school and college people used to ask – “What’s your hotmail account da?” Honestly I was more of a Yahoo Mail guy and then Lycos and Mailcity were what I used, while my hotmail account was mainly for MSN Messenger.
What I am talking about is well over 10 years ago but I remember the stiff competition between ICQ, Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger. You knew the kind of person someone was on the basis of what they frequented. I have spent many a long night sitting on ICQ asking random girls from half way around the world – A/S/L??? It used to be so exciting. At that time most people did not have photos on their profiles. Most often you got into a conversation with what you would hope was a Beautiful Chiquita only to realized a few days later it was Bhaskar, one of your classmates who was having the laugh of his life.
ICQ was awesome but soon the craze died out…perhaps because they did not have an email presence or perhaps because Yahoo and Microsoft were doing such a good job. Then Yahoo Messenger added voice…and eventually video…but lets face it…it was more of a slide show and less of video.
But then in 2004, this really famous search engine decided to get into the email business. You see until then you would get only 1 or 2 MB of space in your inbox. I think Yahoo Mail was the largest with 6MB. What was unique about this new email system was that it would give you 1GB of space in your inbox. To add to that, you could not JUST sign up…you had to get an invite from a friend. Yes, the age of GMAIL was here. Over night people started saying, “Send me an invite da..” and friends started asking, “What’s your Gmail account?”
Two years later, Google introduced GTalk and I signed out of Yahoo and MSN Messenger almost never to return. Today I logged into my MSN Messenger account and looked at the number of contacts who were online…and all I saw was “(0)”.