In the spirit of Hallmark and chocolate roses, we recently took a special interest in Valentine's worthy tidbits about how Gmail has helped spur romance -- as it did for Jordan Burleson, who told us:
"Gmail is the new Cupid. Gmail's green chat light meant 'go' for love in my life. My girlfriend and I used ... it for projects and homework at first, but then for flirting, pinning down a location for a first date, emoticon hearts and more."
In other cases, email has helped maintain long distance relationships, like that of long-time Gmail user Meagan Coleman:
"My husband and I met in 2004. He's from Macedonia and I'm from the USA...Since we met, Gmail has been archiving our long-distance relationship from the beginning! It's very sweet to be able to read those messages that we wrote to each other 3 years ago."
Curious about how common emailing love letters really is -- and to learn more about how people use email to communicate with friends, family, and co-workers -- we recently worked with Nielsen Online to conduct a national survey examining how people think about and use webmail.* The survey affirmed that email is an increasingly important part of our most intimate and personal interactions, and that younger people are leading the charge: they are more likely to use email for everything from sending love letters to ending relationships.

Love is in the inbox
  • 1 in 3 survey respondents noted having emailed a love letter
  • Young people indicated they were less averse to showing their affections over email than older adults: only 14% of 18-24 year olds considered email love letters bad behavior, compared to 43% of respondents over the age of 55
  • Men were more likely than women to have asked someone out via email (26% versus 16%)
  • While 31% of 18-24 year olds thought asking someone out on a date via email was poor form, 42% of respondents aged 55+ felt the same way
Breaking up is hard to do; some get help from email
  • 1 in 3 male respondents considered "break-up emails" neutral to good email etiquette, whereas only 1 in 7 female respondents agreed
  • 8% of men and 6% of women said they had broken up with someone over email
Whether you're sending hearts this year or breaking them, we hope you have a happy Valentine's Day.

* The online survey, commissioned by Google, was conducted by Nielsen Online from September 24th to October 15th, 2007, with a sample of 1,713 webmail users over the age of 18. "Webmail user" was defined as someone who uses AOL Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo! Mail.