Suddenly I've got 100 Gmail invitations to give out:
This is up from 50. A lot of people speculate that Google will eventually open up Gmail to work like Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, or any other competing free e-mail service. Want to open a new account? Just go to Hotmail.com and sign up; no invitation required.
I think there's a chance they will stick with the invitation model indefinitely. In an odd way, it helps foster a community of Gmail users. You have to find a Gmail pal to get started -- and many of us are Gmail evangelists, so that may not be a barrier for many people.
Maybe Google prefers the invitation model. At 2546 megabytes and growing, they've got to worry about people using their Gmail account as a storage vault.
I still think Google is capturing data as to how the invitations spread, and which service provider they poach customers from. (To accept an invitation, you click on a message sent to your current e-mail account.) I'd love to see a visualization of the spread of Gmail across the globe.