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e-mail Vittal, John

John Vittal was responsible for transforming e-mail into the highly user-friendly tool of today

A range of functions had been added to e-mail since Tomlinson's first version, when Vittal started to work on it. He was then a young programmer working at the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute.

When he started developing the software he drew parallels to the sort of uses people were making with paper such as, notes memos, copying or throwing in the bin and created electronic equivalents for them.

Vittal was keen to open up the electronic world to people who didn't normally use computers. He spent hours working in his spare time and often through the night to get the programme, which he called MSG. The results can be seen across the Internet today.

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...