A popular and efficient way of communicating with other people through the Internet, sending an electronic mail or email allows computer users to send digital messages to one or multiple recipients. With the development of email, people can send important messages to their relatives, friends and business associates easily and instantly. The development of the Internet contributed allot to the creation of email. However, to know when was email first used, it is best to explore the events related to the development of various computer programs, namely the Compatible Time Sharing System as well as the ARPANET.
When was email first used? Electronic mail was first used in 1965 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, several years before the development of the Internet. The launch of the Compatible Time Sharing System in 1961, which allowed several people using various dial-up terminals to access and store files with the use of the IBM 7094. The institute continued to improve this system until in 1965, it had developed a computer program known as the Mailbox, which is now considered as the first electronic mail system. At this time, internetworking was not yet developed, so the Mailbox only allowed people to send messages to the same computer network.
In 1969, the ARPANET computer network was developed. This system made the use of intranetworking computer programs possible. According to some reports, electronic mails have been sent several months after ARPANET was created. However, it was in 1971 when Ray Tomlinson, a contractor of ARPANET, initiated the use of the @ symbol to indicate sending digital messages from one system to another. After this development, the use of email became one of the most popular computer applications of the ARPANET.
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Another major advancement in the use of email happened in 1975 when John Vital developed computer software that allowed people to sort and organize the digital messages that they have received. In the 1980s, the first significant and useful electronic mail standard known as the Simple Message Transfer Protocol was developed.
The development of the Internet contributed to the conceptualization of the new email standard Post Office Protocol. In the 1990s, the popularity of the World Wide Web improved, which made the use of electronic mail system more affordable and easier. At this time, some websites like Hotmail and Yahoo! allowed people to use the system free. In the 2000s, sending digital messages to people in the other regions of the world was possible due to the increasing popularity of email.