If you live in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and Japan (Gmail is already open there), but for rest of the world, Google has finally opened Gmail to everyone, I've just checked and it's allowing to create a new account, here in India. Here is the Google Blog post.
"In keeping with our tradition of Gmail holiday announcements -- Gmail was launched on April Fool's Day -- we're inviting everyone worldwide to share the love this Valentine's Day. Good relationships require good communication, after all, and we think Gmail is a great tool for staying in touch," said a Google spokesman.
Another interesting news is that Google will offer a paid Gmail service that will have bigger space quotas. "[Sergey] Brin said the company will start selling additional storage capacity to e-mail users with extraordinary needs. Google still hasn't figured out the specifics, but Brin indicated the e-mail storage and fees to be introduced later this year would be similar to Google's photo-hosting service that charges $25 annually for 6.25 gigabytes and $500 annually for 250 gigabytes."
Even though Gmail has around 60 million users (according to a comScore study from December 2006), much less than Hotmail (236 mil.) and Yahoo Mail (249 mil.), Google says it's not important to be the market leader. "We have already made e-mail better for everyone in the world", said Gmail's product manager, Keith Coleman, referring to the fact that other email services had to offer bigger storages and more features, after Gmail's surprising launch.
Gmail is important for Google, because it's an opening door for many of its services: Google Talk (integrated as Gmail Chat), Google Calendar (you can send and receive event invitations), Google Docs (open attachments), as well as a way to share a contact list with other Google services and a way to keep users logged in. It will be interesting to see if Gmail grows naturally or the company will start to offer by default a Gmail account when you create a Google account.