It’s official Gmail is open to the public. You no longer need to be invited, or register by cell phone.
Gmail is nearly perfect now. You can pull email via pop3 and send using the same address (i.e. email@example.com) You don’t have to use your Gmail address. You can also export via pop3 with use of programs such as Outlook or Thunderbird.
Plus TONS of other awesome features. If you don’t have one already now you can!
If you have any questions about the service check out their support page or post them here.