Google announces revolutionary Paper Mail service

Google just announced another great service — Gmail Paper, an innovative option that allows users of its free email service to also send paper copies of their correspondence via the U.S. Postal Service. And the amazing thing is this service is FREE – the cost of postage is paid for by ads that Google prints on the outside of your envelope.

The following screenshot shows the extra button that’s added to your Gmail menu bar, and here’s more information on Gmail Paper as a whole.   

“Revolutionary” is not too strong a word for Gmail Paper. True, some people only use email (digital) communications, but the rest of us — the silent majority, I’d say — still find comfort in the tangible presence of printed (analog) communications… letters, memos, paper receipts and whatnot. It may pile up on our desks at times, but we feel somehow safer knowing it’s there (except, possibly, in the event of a building fire).

For the time being, Gmail Paper is beta, but count on the fact that it’s here to stay. I predict that by the end of 2007, virtually every postal mailbox in America will be a little fuller, thanks to the reassuring (albeit slightly retro) presence of Gmail Paper…

Remember — You heard it here first!

NOTE: Google informs me that Gmail Paper will not be immediately available everywhere; rural areas may have to wait until the local post offices are staffed to handle the expected increase in workload.

Don’t see the Gmail Paper button in your menu bar? That’s because it only appears in browsers that have been upgraded to run Gmail v.2.82. Check your version number by comparing what you see on-screen to the date displayed in the top-right header of this screenshot — if the date doesn’t match, then you don’t get it. Sorry.

~ ~ ~

Update (04/17/07): This Lifehack post reports that Google Paper will soon have competition — a company called Postful. Stay tuned.