Google Inc., the world's biggest Internet search engine, said on Wednesday it is opening the Japanese-language version of its email service to anyone who wants to sign up.
Japan is the third market after Australia and New Zealand in which the U.S. Internet conglomerate has allowed open access to GMail, which it offers in more than 40 different languages.
In other markets, signups are limited to those who receive email invitations from existing users or access it via mobile phones.
Google does not disclose the number of accounts at GMail, a free service it launched in April 2004. GMail generates revenue for Google as an automated system displays advertisements linked to the details of emails sent and received.
"We want as many people to have access to our service," Angela Lee, Tokyo-based product manager at Google, said in a meeting with reporters. "The change has had quite a significant impact in Australia and New Zealand," she said without providing figures.
Google is trying to offer sufficient storage space for GMail users so they do not have to erase old messages. It currently allows about 2.7 gigabytes of data space to every user. Lee said it will continue to expand the storage size.
It is also trying to raise its presence in Japan, where more people access the web using mobile phones than from personal computers. Google this year announced a tie-up with the country's second-biggest wireless operator, KDDI Corp., to offer search engines on mobile phones.
"We're trying to offer GMail for mobile phone users as soon as possible," said Hiroto Tokusei, another Google product manager. He said no specific plans have been decided yet.
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