I’ll make one prediction, and I hope I’m right. Google will not allow public sign up for their gmail service – they only want to let friends of friends in. If you don’t get a gmail invite, you’re not going to get a gmail account. There’s a number of really excellent reasons to do it this way, too. First of all, now they instantly know who is connected to who. Why are those social network programs like Friendster and Orkut so popular? The value the link between people as the highest metric for classifying individuals. By rolling out the gmail service with invites only, they build the database backend which allow them to introduce the next generation of social software – something that combines a vast storage of personal net space with a messaging, file sharing and social networking backbone. Eventually they’ll eliminate spam: Only emails from other gmail accounts are trusted, everything else (except perhaps trusted partners) is disregarded as junk. So the next evolution of the Internet begins, but here’s the problem – the only way this can properly work is if we hand over a lot of our privacy into the hands of one company. How trustworthy is Google?