We have not met a single modern person who would not use e-mail. This is not surprising, because accounts on social networks and some messengers, services for planning work, and not only have long been tied to it. In recent years, active correspondence with it has faded into the background, but each of us checks incoming messages at least once a day - you never know, suddenly there was another spam with discounts and sales.
We doubt that leafing through new letters in your inbox, you are wondering how the e-mail appeared. We also did not think about it until we found out that they started using it before the advent of the Internet. This prompted to understand her story.
How did the email come about and who came up with the @ symbol
The history of e-mail begins at a time when a protocol for controlling data transfer by the name of TCP was not yet developed, and reflections on a PC at home could only be found on pages of fantastic books. These were the 70s of the XX century, when the largest network was considered ARPANET. Then each computer occupied an area of a decent room, it was indecently expensive, and several people used it at once. The first email worked between them.
That's how they worked at ARPANET. Source: computerhistory.org
In 1965 , employees of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology created an application called MAIL, which worked on the basis of the CTSS operating system. With it, users of a large computer, which they called the mainframe, could exchange small messages with each other within the same device. They were stored in a special file called MAIL BOX or "Mailbox" - it is considered the "grandfather" of modern mailboxes.
It turns out that there was no Internet yet, and email already existed. This moment is considered by many to be her birth - we are also one of them. But others are sure that she appeared as much as six years later.
In 1971, developer Ray Tomlinson wrote an application that skillfully sent messages to a remote computer using the CypNet protocol, which was previously used to transfer files. They ended up in the same “Mailbox”.
Almost immediately after launching the application, Ray developed a mail organization system. Each computer user was assigned its own address, which consisted of its name and the name of the computer, which were separated by the coveted “@” sign. The “dog” was replaced by the English preposition “at” or “by”. The nick @ mainframe address said that conditional Kolya was working on a computer with the name "Mainframe". Until today, this principle has not changed much.
Ray Tomlinson. Source: institutodeestrategia.com
It is said that Tomlinson specifically looked for a character that is rarely used in programming, so as not to confuse users. The graphical interface or GUI was not used then, so the question was relevant.An interesting fact: in different countries the symbol "@" is called differently. We have this "dog", in Italy - a snail, but in the Netherlands, and at all - a monkey tail. The most poetic name was invented by the inhabitants of Kazakhstan, who call it the ear of the moon.
By 1972, Tomlinson had not weakly developed his version of email, making it easier to use. A little later, he also laid the foundation for an even more pumped-up application by Lawrence Roberts, who added a lot of chips to it. Users were able to sort letters and create separate lists for them. In the era of neural networks,
this does not look like an achievement, but then it was very important and was even considered a real breakthrough.
Lawrence Roberts. Source: timetoast.com
After a couple of years, email served to transfer 75% of absolutely all the data in ARPANET. And in 1975, even the first mailing list appeared - the most popular then was the topic of science fiction. In the same year, the talented programmer John Wittal developed the MSG program, which provided users with all the existing functions for working with letters and began to use e-mail at the state level.
September 20, 1987 is a significant date. On this day, on the basis of the CSNET protocol, an electronic mail connection was established between China and Germany. Yes, it was on that day that the first international message was sent.
In 1988, FidoNet members were given the opportunity to exchange electronic messages with users of other networks. And in 1994, for the first time, they started talking about the dominance of advertising letters, which long before that began to be called spam.
When did the newsletter appear and where did the “spam” come from
Any email user is familiar with the mailing list that appeared in the 90s. What can I say, even Apple does not forget to remind myself of itself as an advertising letter in the inbox, so other companies do not disdain it.
Pork SPAM by Hormel Foods. Source: fortune.com
Every user of the World Wide Web has encountered spam, but the word "spam" has absolutely nothing to do with modern technologies. This term dates back to 1936 when Hormel Foods launched a canned pork of the same name - SPAM. The product was quite tasty and cheap, but it was advertised so actively that it managed to fill the edge of absolutely everyone and exactly everyone. Here it is spam in its purest form, check out the fragment from the advertisement:
"Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam
Hormel's new miracle meat in a can
Tastes fine, saves time
If you want something grand, ask for SPAM »
After wild pork ads were ridiculed in the Monty Python circus show in 1969, they began to use the word as a household name for overly intrusive ads. And in the late 80s, a certain Dave Rhodes so eagerly sent out electronic messages asking him to join his financial pyramid, that the recipients of his letters compared it with the marketers of famous canned goods. It was after this incident that annoying advertising letters began to be called spam.
The most popular topics for spam mailings were letters of happiness, the spread of viruses, and the advertising of illegal or substandard products. Spammers always bought databases of email addresses in a ready-made form, or assembled independently on ad sites and forums. That is why all modern mail services are equipped with special filters that allow you to immediately download unwanted ads into separate folders so that it does not interfere.
Some countries have specific laws that protect their residents from spam. For example, German citizens have every right to sue a spammer and receive monetary compensation, the amount of which depends on whether the author of the annoying mailing list is a natural or legal person. The maximum bar is designated at 50 thousand euros, but in some cases it can rise even higher - a worthy “reward” for “work”.
In addition to individual legal acts that vary from country to country, there are also a number of common anti-spam techniques - for example, the OPT-IN
principle. According to it, mailing can be recognized as legal only if the recipient has independently agreed to it. That is, for example, if you register on the site, and somewhere below in small print it is written that by doing this, you consent to receive letters, this is not legal.
Another principle called OPT-OUT
states that the user should be able to unsubscribe at any time. That is why in most spam emails you can see the link for unsubscribing.
There are general rules for the relevance of content: the title of the letter should correspond to its subject, and if the letter is advertising, this should be reported immediately. However, many spammers still circumvent these principles and clog our mailboxes.
How Email Works on the Modern Internet
Physical post offices process both incoming and outgoing mail - this is their main difference from electronic ones. The latter divide them into two directions, which go through the POP3 or IMAP and SMTP protocols, respectively.SMTP
(Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is a special protocol that is used to send mail. It checks the configuration of the message and passes it. After that, it checks the result - the letter is delivered or not.POP3
(Post Office Protocol 3) and IMAP
(Internet Message Access Protocol) are a pair of protocols that are used to receive e-mail. The first one gives you the opportunity to download your letters, and the second simply opens access to them online.
Incoming mail protocols receive them through mail servers - MDA
. They are protected by the account login and password - messages get here through SMTP and special MTA
agents. Perhaps in the future we will talk about them in more detail.
Spark is probably the best email client. Source: wccftech.com
MUA can also take part in correspondence - these are special email clients that you use on your computers, smartphones and other devices. They work through POP3 and IMAP, as well as SMTP. Today they are configured to work with a specific box almost automatically. But earlier we had to enter all the details manually and suffered for a long time with the protocols for incoming and outgoing mail.
Where does email go and what will happen next
Now digital mailboxes store all the important information about us: payment receipts, airline tickets, work letters and online shopping histories. Registration on most sites still goes through email.
Next year, email will actually be celebrating its 55th birthday, and many say its time has passed. However, despite the growing popularity of various instant messengers and social networks, it is still popular. Experts talk about the upcoming round of email development related to the use of artificial intelligence. With it, information will be sorted even more flexibly and conveniently.
By the way, smart sorting first appeared in Gmail, then in Yandex, and in the summer of 2018 it was even added to Mail.Ru. Smart answers can also be quite interesting and useful. In the future, they will be created using neural networks that can analyze received messages and select the most appropriate answers for them. In 2017, smart replies were added to the Gmail functional set, but in Russian so far are only available at Mail.Ru.
Inbox, which Google has abandoned. Source: theverge.com
The great advantage of email services over instant messengers is the open protocol. You can’t send a message from Telegram to your friend in Viber, but from Gmail to Yandex you just spit. It’s also very cool that the sender of the e-mail does not expect an instant response from you and does not see whether you are online or not. Also, letters usually state information clearly on the case, which deprives you of useless minutes of correspondence - this is a business tool for adults and employees.