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Friday, 23 February 2024 07:05

Billionaire Larry Page’s Google not shutting down Gmail

Google, owned by billionaires Larry Page and Sergey Brin, is not shutting down Gmail, as the email platform asserted, “Gmail is here to stay,” in response to a viral hoax tweet claiming the platform would halt its email feature.  

Additionally, the tech giant, under its parent company Alphabet, did not officially issue any statements announcing the purported “Gmail shutdown” on its website or through any press release statements for its 1.8 billion users. 

How it all started 

A screenshot circulating on social media platforms alleged that Google plans to phase out Gmail entirely by the end of this year, suggesting the service would no longer support email functions starting August 1. The screenshot, gaining over 1 million views across various accounts, claimed that Gmail would cease facilitating the sending, receiving, or storing of emails.  

  • The email, titled “Why Gmail Is Sunsetting,” outlined Google’s purported shift in focus towards developing communication technologies and platforms.  
  • The fake news release, supposedly addressed to Gmail’s 1.8 billion users worldwide and posted on social media, stated, “After years of connecting millions worldwide, enabling seamless communication, and fostering countless connections, the journey of Gmail is coming to a close.” 
  • The misleading notice specified August 1, 2024, as the date until which Gmail users will “be able to access and download all your emails.” 

This statement, which carried with the company’s logo, surfaced shortly after Google announced the suspension of its text-to-image AI tool Gemini.   

  • Earlier, screenshots circulated online showed Gemini-generated images with misleading racial depictions in historical contexts. Elon Musk criticized the feature as “woke” and “super racist” in a series of posts, prompting Google to release a statement acknowledging the need to “improve these kinds of depictions immediately.” 
  •  Chris Bakke, X Product Lead known for posting humorous content, shared the screenshot, playfully claiming to be the senior vice president of product at Google.  

Bakke jokingly stated that he was instructed by Google CEO Sundar Pichai to terminate the company’s Gemini team but mistakenly fired the entire Gmail team. 

What we know 

In the aftermath of the rumored Gmail shutdown, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, witnessed a more than 1% increase in shares, concluding at $145.32. 

 Furthermore, Larry Page and Sergey Brin saw a boost in their net worth, with an addition of $1.18 billion and $2.49 billion, respectively, by the close of Thursday’s market trade. Both billionaire founders, controlling approximately 51.4% of the company through class B shares, now boast a combined net worth of $256 billion. 

Since its launch in April 2004, Gmail has held a significant position in the email industry, contending with competitors like Yahoo and AOL.

Last year, Google disclosed plans for the gradual phase-out of Gmail’s HTML version, commencing in January.

The HTML view aims to provide users with quicker load times and enhanced connectivity, particularly beneficial on slower internet connections. 


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