Gmail parties in Australia without invitation

Australian and New Zealand residents are the first in the world to be able sign up for Gmail without having to scrounge for invites from existing users.

As of today, users can sign-up to Google's Web-based e-mail program by simply registering on the site www.gmail.com

"As we prepare to broaden availability, we have decided to launch these efforts in Australia and New Zealand first," said a Google Australia spokesperson. "We understand the extreme interest and passion that people around the world have for Gmail and we look forward to making Gmail generally available in more places as soon as we are able."

No other changes have affected the Gmail accounts which still offer over 2.7GB of free space, built-in Google search technology and spam protection.

Although still in beta form, the company plans to release a final version once "strong internal metrics" are met.

"We'll take Gmail out of beta once we feel we've met these metrics," the spokesperson said. "However, users should know that Gmail is reliable and is quickly becoming more widely available. In fact, tens of millions of users around the world already depend on Gmail every day.