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(Electronic-MAIL) The transmission of text messages from sender to recipient. Email messages can also be formatted with graphics like a brochure or Web page, an enhancement that many users like, but that creates more spam and a security risk (see HTML email).

Users can send a mail message to a single recipient or to multiple users. In addition, JPEG photos as well as any other type of computer file may be attached to the message (see email attachment). Mail is sent to a simulated mailbox in the organization's mail server until it is downloaded to the "in" mailbox in the user's computer.

The Messaging System and the Client
An email system requires a messaging system, which is primarily a store and forward capability based on the Internet's Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). A mail program (email client), such as Windows Mail, Mac Mail, Outlook and Eudora, provides the user interface for mailboxes and send and receive functions. Popular email services such as Gmail and Yahoo! Mail are Web based, in which case the Web browser is used as the mail program (see email interfaces).

The Internet Changed It All
The Internet revolutionized email by turning countless incompatible islands into one global system. Initially serving its own users, in the mid-1990s, the Internet began to act as a mail gateway between the major online services such as CompuServe and America Online (AOL). It then became "the" messaging system for the planet. In the U.S., Internet mail is measured in the trillions of messages each year. See email vs. fax, messaging system, instant messaging, read receipt and self-destructing email.

Could They Have Imagined Spam?
When they sent this first message in 1971, could they have imagined the trillions of email messages that would follow in years to come? (Image courtesy of Dan Murphy,

The First Email on the Internet

In 1971, the first email message was typed into the Teletype terminal connected to the Digital Equipment PDP-10 toward the back of the room in the following picture. The message was transmitted via ARPAnet, the progenitor of the Internet, to the PDP-10 in front. Dan Murphy, a Digital engineer, took this photo in the Bolt, Beranek and Newman datacenter. See ARPAnet.

Could They Have Imagined Spam?
When they sent this first message in 1971, could they have imagined the trillions of email messages that would follow in years to come? (Image courtesy of Dan Murphy,
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
References in periodicals archive ?
Steven Mulhearn, Dumbarton, e-mailed: "I hope Ronny Deila plays his trump card and starts with Kris Commons in Sweden.
He e-mailed me again and asked to have sex with me, saying if I didn't he would show the photos to my father.
NO TANGO: Hayley Holt says Strictly bosses e-mailed her agent saying her services were no longer required
I e-mailed them again in September 2006, as the potholes were getting worse.
It is hoped the next edition will be e-mailed in March.
"We have e-mailed them all in advance that they have to pay another pounds 5 because of Gordon Brown's introduction of this tax on February 1," he said yesterday.
I e-mailed Bernie Turner, one of our councillors, probably about 12 months ago to express my concerns about this absolutely horrendous eyesore and the danger I feel these units in their current state impose on the local community.
Letters may be e-mailed to:
Members receive an e-mailed invitation to register before each Forum.
All submissions must be postmarked or e-mailed by June 30, 2006.
For electronic delivery, the documents are e-mailed to you in PDF format.
Last year when we began an "Editors' Picks" feature in our November book issue, several readers wrote and e-mailed that they liked seeing our faces.