Overnight I newly have 50 (!) Gmail invites sitting in my account. If the folks at Gmail really think I’m going to somehow give away that many invites then they need to put me on payroll.
More seriously, we must be on the cusp of having Gmail come out of beta. Why else would they be opening up the service so widely in such a rush? As a side note, what was the last beta Google service to come out of beta? I had become use to the idea that beta was just a variant of Google product, like loose-fit versus boot-cut jeans.