It seems that Google has decided to allow more people to create Gmail accounts. I was on the Gmail login page today, nurse and I noticed that you are now allowed to sign up for an invitation code using your text-enabled mobile phone. You enter your 9-digit phone number in the box, information pills and Gmail sends you a confirmation code that allows you to sign up for a Gmail account.
Why are they requiring you to use a mobile phone? I think that in the end it is so there is an audit trail for all accounts that were created. Gmail knows who gave you your account, and if you start sending SPAM, they can shut you down, and they can go back to the person who gave you your account to find out who you are. If you sign up with a mobile phone number and you start sending SPAM, then they can find out who you are based on your phone number.
In any case, I think it is pretty cool that Gmail is now widely available without an invitation from another Gmail user.
Also of note, Gmail will now allow you to customize the “from” address in your Gmail account — so once you confirm that you are the owner of the other address, you can use a drop-down box in your Compose window to select your “From” address. Pretty Snazzy!