How does Google profit by offering 1GB of storage?
They place advertising, very similar to Adwords, in your mailbox that scans your e-mail and places "relevant text ads" on your account. There are no pop-up advertisments, but they do place sponsered text ads next to the e-mails that you open up.
Free 1GB E-mail storage? A little advertising never hurt anyone. . .
Google's scanning of your e-mail, along with long file retention, is what has caused a red flag to go off when speaking of privacy issues. Check out http://gmail-is-too-creepy.com/ for more information. They talk about all the privacy issues and discuss how e-mail loses its "protected status" after 180 days.
But, if you're still interested in GMail, there are a few ways to possibly get a GMail Beta account, and there are some pretty neat add-ons that are being created to exploit the free 1GB of storage that Google offers.
If you are looking to get a GMail account, you have to receive an INVITE that allows you to join the Beta test. Don't bother buying an invite on E-Bay. First, you shouldn't have to pay for this these invites, and secondly, it is against Google's policy to sell them. Anyway, I have 6 GMail invites to give away, so send me an e-mail if you'd like one. I'll update this section once I've given them away.
Another good way to get a GMail Beta account is to go to the following web site: http://isnoop.net/gmailomatic.php. People who have extra GMail invitations place them up on that site for free, and allow others to get their invitation and join the GMail Beta.
Once you have an account you're free to store up to 1GB of e-mail. Now, you can use the 1GB of storage to create a virtual Hard Drive accessible from anywhere! Here are two sites that have programs that will help accomplish this.
That's all for now, but if you all find any other add-ons, please feel free to comment!