Why Do We Use Email

After watching Gmail’s Kinda Bad For The Web video by Theo, I started to wonder why email is required almost everywhere for sign-up. Do we take for granted that everyone has an email address? What problem does sign-up by email solve?

I realize that for many services, the sign-up can be done via Google, Microsoft, or another provider. However, going down that road, we will notice that these providers use email too.

The email surely isn’t about credibility. Everyone can host an email service and vouch for themselves.

Is it about having a way to contact the user? Why do we stick to email and not use Messenger, SMS, or any other form? Is it because the email was always there for most of us and is simply one of the oldest forms of contact? Following that logic, is email the legacy part of the internet that we will never get rid of?

Don’t get me wrong, I like email, and I wish it wasn’t centralized around Gmail (I am at fault here too). I just find it interesting that no one ever questions email being the backbone of the internet authentication.