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Even closer to home. Palm, RIM, Microsoft, Apple and Google have all said at one point that web apps were the answer for mobile apps....

I mean, modern Google was half-built on the back of the Gmail web app...

Gmail was introduced after Google was already popular. The Google home page’s claim to fame was always its simplicity and fast load time.

To an average user, Google in 2003 was a search page. In 2004+, it was essential internet infrastructure.

That's a pretty big difference.

Gmail is popular but in the grand scheme of things it’s not that popular for email. I’m sure that most people get most of their utility from email from their corporate email. Their personal email is mostly used for distant relationship type communications. Most personal interactions these days happen via messaging and social media. AKA “Email is for old people”.

Also, a lot of computer use is via mobile these days and I doubt too many people are using the web interface on mobile for gmail.

It's pretty popular for email, at 25%+ market share [1]. That's a LOT of information to mine.

And point about conversations moving to post-email protocols, but email is certainly still up there with HTTP as a bedrock standard that everyone eventually touches.

Without pushing JavaScript and a full featured web client, it's fair to say Google wouldn't have grown as quickly and be nearly as dominant today.

As for their move to full mobile app, I think it's a bit of a different calculation when you happen to own the OS that powers ~75% of all mobile phones [2]. ;)

Suffice to say, I don't think Google has the same troubles as other developers. (Exception to security policy, for my first party app? Sure!)

[1] https://www.statista.com/chart/17570/most-popular-email-clie...

[2] https://www.statista.com/topics/3778/mobile-operating-system...

The question is not about how many people use Gmail - and that still doesn’t take into account corporate users. It’s about how many people use the web interface as opposed to using a mobile app.

Yes. And we're both clear that there wasn't always a mobile app version of Gmail, right?

To say that Gmail had much to do with Google’s growth considering that there was only a relatively small Window that email was the most popular form of personal (not corporate communication and spam) and that was over ten years ago before mobile started taking over doesn’t really have any basis in today’s reality.

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