It seems tha Gmail may finally be opening to the public very soon. They originally predicted the beta period to end last autumn, but it has remained invitation-only well into this year. A few weeks ago members received 50 invites each, to allow more people to join the decreasingly exclusive club. When Gmail was announced last April I signed up to receive news of updates; today I got an email from the team inviting me to open an account. There doesn’t seem to be a signup mechanism on the site yet, but the signs are pointing to an iminent opening.