Even before the invention of emails, there was always that strong need to communicate in human beings. From the carrier pigeons to the first telegraphs, throughout history we have always been looking for the most convenient and fast way to communicate even at great distances. However, the development of the first digital networks and the advent of increasingly innovative technologies has been the turning point. It was finally possible to connect two machines even thousands of miles apart. The turning point is connected to a specific date: October 29 of 1969, the day on which the first email was sent. At the time, the Internet as a network had not yet been invented and that is why the first connection took place within ARPANET, the internal network of the United States. Impossible to define it again as a real email even if the starting point had been provided.
The invention of electronic mail
After a few years of study, in October 1971, Ray Tomlinson developed the first software capable of connecting several ARPANET nodes. We do not think of a modern network model, since at that time the cost of a computer was very high and the few who could afford it were government, military or at most universities. The first step was however made and with it a whole series of features that we still find today began to be born. Let’s talk about the at (@), used by Tomlinson to divide the name of the author of the message with that of the computer to which the communication was to be sent. In a short time the project took off and in just two years thousands of messages were sent thanks to the mail service. The main purpose was a type of military communication, also seen in the advent of the Cold War in that same period.
The evolution of mail messages
Given the success of the project developed by Tomlinson, other scientists and researchers began to create different applications to improve the service. In 1975 John Vittel created a software to better organize the messages sent and a few years later it’s up to Shiva Ayyadurai to divide the mailbox into messages sent and messages received. In 1980 also the now famous emoticons made their entrance and at the same time the mailing lists were born, groups of mail addresses to communicate simultaneously with several people ( the ancestors of forums and whatsapp groups). With the creation of the Internet then the email service was able to involve more and more people scattered here and there around the world. Nevertheless, we will have to wait until the early 90s to see the first email services as we know them now, thanks to Microsoft Outlook in 1992 and Hotmail then in 1996.
The future of email
The invention of the e-mail service is undoubtedly one of the most important events of the 20th century. From a small project born in the university (MAILBOX) has passed today to a service capable of allowing fast, safe and effective communication. With Gmail now taking over the market, emails continue to be the preferred means of communication by individuals and especially by companies for their advertising purposes. Not even new social networks or messaging apps have been able to take the place of what is still proving to be one of the essential services in our daily lives.