Google Extends More Gmail Invites

Google's Gmail service may be preparing to leave its beta auspices for the first time since launching in April 2004. Some account holders of the search giant's Web mail have been granted the ability to invite 50 friends to the free service, indicating Google is preparing for an expansion.

Previously, each Gmail beta user was given only a handful of invitations to pass along. Google has been slowly ramping up its Gmail efforts as competition heats up from rivals MSN and Yahoo, which followed Google's strategy to attract customers by removing storage limitations. In November, Gmail was opened so users could retrieve mail using an external client such as Outlook.

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