The history of email messaging

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Today’s email was technically never invented; it gradually developed from very simple beginnings along side with the creation of the Internet. In computer language, email is shortened from the worlds ‘electronic mail’. It is an updated method of transmitting text files, data, photos, audio, and video between computers through the internet. Through the last 40 years the form of communication we now call email has grown from the domain of computer scientists to one most common way to personally and professionally keep in touch. The email phenomenon was not popular until 1990 and today is a major form of communication.

Early email was an advancement in what we know as file directories, it put messages into another user’s directory so that he or she would be able to see it when logging into the computer. It was considered to be very simple, just as simple as leaving a note on someone else’s desk. The first two email systems of this type were MAILBOX and SNDMSG.

A computer engineer Ray Tomilson is the one who invented the internet-based email in 1971. He worked for Bolt Beranek and Newman, who was hired by the US defense department to create the first Internet in 1968. Tomlinson experimented with the program he invented called SNDMSG, the program used by programmers and researchers to leave messages for one another (local electronic messaging). With this program, messages could only be left on the computer currently using for others who were also using that computer to read. Tomilson used a protocol of file transferring he was working with called CYPNET to structure the SNDMSG program to be able to send messages electronically to other computers with the ARPANET network.

The @ symbol was chosen by Tomlinson to show which user was technically ‘at’ what computer. This @ symbol was selected to be placed between the user’s login name and his or her host computer name. Today, over a billion email users type the @ sign each day. Tomlinson said back then he had no idea that the impact of the @ simple would be so great.

The very first email was delivered between two computers actually sitting right next to one another. The connection among the two computers used as the ARPANET and the first message sent was ‘QWERTYUIOP” (the top line of the keyboard). Ray Tomlinson is known for saying he created electronic mail partly because thought it was great idea. No one at that time was even seeking this type of mail.