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Gmail Becomes Google Mail in the UK 337

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-thats-just-a-pain dept.
akadruid writes "As of today, UK Gmail users are seeing 'Google Mail' at the top of their Gmail accounts, and Google is warning they may lose their '@gmail.com' addresses in the future. All new signups from the UK will be assigned '@googlemail.com' addresses, and existing accounts will be able to use either domain for now. Gmail's help pages explain this is related to their ongoing dispute regarding the Gmail trademark."
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Gmail Becomes Google Mail in the UK

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  • by eyeoftheidol (651095) <S.Harrison1@nOSpam.ljmu.ac.uk> on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @08:43AM (#13825551) Homepage
    Anyone else confused by the FAQ? Q4 and Q5 are the same ("What if I'm a UK user who already has a Gmail address?") but the answer is different! Am I missing something? ....
    • The way I read it, they seem to be saying that while they can't guarantee the continuation of their gmail domain, existing gmail users won't see any change.

      So if you have registered, say, david.brent@gmail.com, you won't be forced by Google to change it to david.brent@googlemail.com for now. But since there is a possibility of Google losing the lawsuit, they can't guarantee it will last.

    • Re:FAQ-ing confusing (Score:5, Informative)

      by bedroll (806612) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @09:01AM (#13825693) Journal
      Q4:
      What if I'm a UK user who already has a Gmail address? Will that address ever change?
      Unfortunately, we don't know. We would love to say that your address will always remain the same. But the trademark issue is still unsettled, and unfortunately, we cannot predict what the other party or the courts might do here. You can always use your same username with an @googlemail.com address to avoid this issue later on. But trust that we will do the best we can to make sure your email address won't ever have to change.

      Translation: They cannot guarantee that your address won't change if you have an existing account and are allowed to continue using the gmail.com domain.

      Q5:

      What if I'm a UK user who already has a Gmail address? Will I also need to change that address?
      No, this change doesn't affect existing Gmail addresses. For now, our plan is only to issue @googlemail.com addresses to new users. Trust that we will do the best we can to offer all our users a reliable and consistent email experience.

      Translation: You don't need to change your address right now if you have an existing account that is allowed to use the gmail.com domain. New accounts will not be issued gmail.com email addresses, in favor of googlemail.com.

      They are very close, but there's just enough difference to make them both valuable questions and answers.

      • They are very close, but there's just enough difference to make them both valuable questions and answers.

        I hate to reply to myself, but I realize now that I left that post a bit unfinished. The parent had said that the questions were the same. I paid more attention to interpreting the question and answer pairs as whole objects.

        To reply to the original charge that the questions are the same: They are not. One deals with now, the other deals with the future. "Will that address ever change?" is a question

  • by danormsby (529805) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @08:44AM (#13825553) Homepage
    So I can pretend I'm not from the UK to avoid the issue? Sure I registered in the UK but I work all over the world. I'm working in Sweden this week. If I leave a proxy running out here and connect through that will I keep my gmail address?

    I didn't know Google even kept a geographical address for my gmail account. Doesn't appear when I search for it!

    • if you already have one you don't 'lose' the address. I'm a UK user and it's still @gmail.com ....

      I am worried that they may be forced to change ALL addresses to googlemail thjough..
    • Double-edged sword (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pedestrian crossing (802349) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @10:07AM (#13826197) Homepage Journal

      When I signed up for Hotmail, I entered my country as 'Pakistan', since I didn't think it was Microsoft's business what country I'm from/in. Also, I don't live in the country I'm from, so it's pretty much meaningless anyway.

      But lo and behold, when Hotmail upped their storage to 250MB, my account stayed at 2.5MB (later upped to 25MB). Why? Because I'm not in the USA. Do you think changing my profile to USA upped the limit? Hint - the answer is not yes.

      Yes, I know Hotmail != Gmail, but the point is that initial profile choices can have unintended consequences...

  • by Augusto (12068) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @08:44AM (#13825554) Homepage
    http://news.zdnet.co.uk/business/legal/0,39020651, 39218121,00.htm [zdnet.co.uk]

    It seems they already did this for Germany too, didn't know that.
  • Quick! (Score:3, Funny)

    by semaj (172655) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @08:45AM (#13825558) Journal
    Someone from the US login to my account so they don't think I'm in the UK!
    Username: semaj
    Password: onlyjoking
    Seriously: I wonder what criteria they'll use to decide if someone is "in" the UK or not?
  • by Kawahee (901497) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @08:45AM (#13825568) Homepage Journal
    As much as I think people are going to hate it and find it inconvenient, it's nice to see Google handling this without any backstabbing and lawyers and the like. Unlike Microsoft which is going to muscle the "Windows Vista" name through IPO despite the fact that "Vista Windows" and "Vista Blinds" already have a very similiar name registered, and their office is just down the adjoining road from 1 Microsoft Way.
    • As much as I think people are going to hate it and find it inconvenient, it's nice to see Google handling this without any backstabbing and lawyers and the like. Unlike Microsoft which is going to muscle the "Windows Vista" name through IPO despite the fact that "Vista Windows" and "Vista Blinds" already have a very similiar name registered, and their office is just down the adjoining road from 1 Microsoft Way.

      I hate to defend Microsoft (bad for karma), but in this case, they are correct. Assuming "Vista Wi
    • Unless Vista Windows and Vista Blinds are in the business of selling PC software (and specifically PC operating systems), then I fail to see how there is any trademark conflict or any likelihood of people being confused.
  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by jolyonr (560227) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @08:45AM (#13825570) Homepage
    I hear they wanted 25 million GBP (over $40 million) for the gmail name in the UK.

    Did they trademark 'BlackMail' too?

    Jolyon
  • I just went onto Firefox this morning and found out, that it needed an update. I installed it, and just got me loads of mail messages, which were already read. Ouch! I said. So I found out that UK users have a different address than their usual one.
  • So much for (Score:5, Funny)

    by w.p.richardson (218394) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @08:46AM (#13825572) Homepage
    "Archive, don't delete"...

    Kind of a moot point when you lose the email address.

  • Google obviously thinks they are going to win this case or else wouldn't they want to extend googlemail to all sections of the globe? I mean aren't trademarks protected internationally, so someone couldn't just make mickey mouse entertainment somewhere in china? All in all i think it's nothing to worry about, the UK's court systems are a TAD more sane when dealing with common sense issues....
  • by Dan East (318230) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @08:47AM (#13825588) Homepage Journal
    Couldn't they keep the gmail.com addresses, and simply require the users to access them via googlemail.com? So all the UK user would see is someone@googlemail.com, although anyone could still email them them as someone@gmail.com.

    If so this isn't nearly as big an issue at it would seem.

    Dan East
    • Yup, that's how I understood it, but I think the interesting part here, really, is that Google itself seems to be unsure of its legal victory. Remains to be seen how Google will handle existing gmail ID's if and when it really loses.
    • And because it's a trademark it's entirely possible that it'll have to go away.

      It's just like moving house without the moving of course, or the house... Everyone has to be told.

      For those of us with gmail accouts. Start moving to googlemail now, whether it's required in the future or not.

       
  • What I want to know is what the other party is doing with their trademark. If they built an email service, and had millions of people relying on it, I'd understand, but if the trademark owner isn't doing anything with the name, I'd say give it to google. I hope the court takes into consideration the confusion this will bring to all these people with email addresses, and takes a look at the few, if any people who are currently confused because of the original trademark holder.
  • Abbreviation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by notthe9 (800486) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @08:48AM (#13825590)
    I really don't see why the gmail.com URL cannot just be an abbreviation of the name of the service: Google Mail. If this company wanted gmail.com, they should have bought it. They did not, leaving it up to any kind of service to legally use it with their own, non-infringing service.
  • by jkrise (535370) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @08:48AM (#13825594) Journal
    Time to trademark G-string...
    -
  • by cyclomedia (882859) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @08:49AM (#13825600) Homepage Journal
    quick google search (heh) turned up this:

    http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3 394361 [internetnews.com]

    suggesting that a bunch of people attempted to register gmail as a trademark at the same time back in march/april 2004, including google who were a bit slow off the bat. this applies in the US and i assume it's been resolved, anybody?

    as for the uk this guardian article

    http://technology.guardian.co.uk/online/news/0,125 97,1568223,00.html?gusrc=rss [guardian.co.uk]

    suggests that the company registered it waaaay back in 2002, therefore not qualifying for bandwaggoning and actually probably having a legit claim.
    • I'm assuming this must relate in some way to the people who have registered gmail.co.uk, which is now a placeholder page, but wasn't always (I've mistyped it a few times...) According to archive.org, they've had nothing but login pages for a year. [tinyurl.com]

      From one of the links in parent's post:

      An independent valuation report commissioned last year by IIIR put a value of between £25m and £34m on the Gmail trademark.

      Ironically, this is probably a price augmentation in reverse. It's only really valuab

  • by xtracto (837672) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @08:49AM (#13825603) Journal
    I read the article from BBC news [bbc.co.uk] before this morning. It seems they have lost against IIIR, who wanted an "exorbitant quantity of money" for the name.

    And so, this change is the second one (after they changed the name in Germany). It seems this company (IIIR) thought of a "great" plan to make money uh?

    Anyway, from the article and Gmail site, current users do not have anything to fear, and of course you can always change your country location when you sign up and get an actual gmail account.

    On a side note, I guess 90% of pepople on slashdot already knew that, as they certainly have gmail...
  • branded addresses (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If google would offer a branded email address service, they could stand to make a lot of money. I.E., I would like to see them offer email service for mycompanyurl.com. MX records would have to point to google servers, addresses get masqueraded when people send. Presto, I no longer have to maintain any email infrastructure.

    Of course, companies with confidentiality/privacy concerns might be loath to adopt this; but for others, it could be great.
  • Thankfully... (Score:3, Informative)

    by cianduffy (742890) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @08:54AM (#13825647)
    Google understands the difference between the UK [google.co.uk] and Ireland [google.ie], meaning I get to keep a gmail.com addy even if the UK is made go to googlemail.com

    Unlike Microsoft, who now offer you a hotmail.co.uk adress if you say you're in Ireland.
  • Just when I was finally hoping I'd have an "email address for life", Google goes ahead and changes it (at least in the UK) after I've had it less than a year!
  • by Destoo (530123) <<destoo> <at> <gmail.com>> on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @09:04AM (#13825710) Homepage Journal
    Our email service stays the same no matter what the logo is or what follows the @ symbol. This change lets our team focus their time on continuing to bring you excellent service.

    It may not seem like much, but we lost a lot of business when the address @ibm.net switched to @attglobal.net

    Same would happen with a change from @gmail.com to anything longer.

    • Wouldn't the same thing have happened if you switched to a shorter domain as well? I would think that the loss of business would have been because everyone had your-company@ibm.net in their address books, so when that address went away you effectively disappeared.

      People keep address books for freakishly long times, judging by how many wrong-number calls I get at home for the same business that used to have the number many years ago.
  • So, who... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Vo0k (760020) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @09:09AM (#13825739) Journal
    Who's that lovely company who dared to stand up against the evil giant? Give us the name and address so we could send them our love!
    • Re:So, who... (Score:3, Informative)

      by VJ42 (860241)
      Here you go: http://www.iirgroup.com/ [iirgroup.com]
      From the contact page
      Independent International Investment Research PLC
      Head & Regestered Office
      30 City Bussiness centre
      St Olav's court
      Lower Road
      London
      SE16 2XB

      Email:salesinfo@iirgroup.com
      tel: +44(0)20 7232 3090
      fax: +44(0)20 7232 3099
  • Privacy issues? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zonix (592337) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @09:09AM (#13825743) Homepage Journal

    Hmm. If Google have to give up gmail.com, then whoever gets the domain instead would be able to receive a shit load of people's private e-mails?

    z
    • by generic-man (33649) * on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @09:18AM (#13825811) Homepage Journal

      That's okay. All the really important e-mail has a disclaimer at the bottom noting that it is for the intended recipients only. That makes it illegal for another person to read it. If another person reads it, they have to notify the sender and delete the message.

      /me takes tongue out of cheek

    • And that's why you should always encrypt your emails.
      • And that's why you should always encrypt your emails.

        That would certainly help, but how about newsletters you get from, say, Amazon? That would indicate to strangers that you have an account there, and they'd probably be able to use the standard "I forgot my password" service retrieve the password. Fun!

        Lesson? Don't sign up for newsletters!

        z
    • Re:Privacy issues? (Score:3, Informative)

      by fabs64 (657132)
      Amazingly enough there's not yet a response saying "NO".
      Google still own the "gmail.com" domain, whether another company owns the trademark in the UK or not, mail addressed to @gmail.com will still end up at a google server.
  • by MCRocker (461060) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @09:10AM (#13825749) Homepage

    If this legal dispute goes Google's way, then they'll probably discontinue the practise of handing out @googlemail.com addresses, but will likely keep existing ones active. As a result, having one of those rare email addresses might actually have some caché amongst the technorati. I'm sure that someone will try to sell an @googlemail.com address for big bucks on eBay.
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @09:13AM (#13825773) Homepage
    Show Google filing 6 months before anyone else [patent.gov.uk] in the UK.

    Now, just because they registered first doesn't mean that another company wasn't already using it as a de facto trade mark, but it does occur to me that the value of the mark should be determined by what it was before Google started using it, not what it's worth now. That the other claimant has a total market value of £3.24m ($5.6m) should be an indication that the GMail mark isn't worth "$48m to $64m" as they claim.

  • by Phantasmagoria (1595) <(loban.rahman+slashdot) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @09:15AM (#13825793)
    I actually prefer @googlemail.com. Firstly, every time I say @gmail.com over the phone or even in person to someone, half the time they hear @email.com, and I have to repeat myself. Plus, I suspect @googlemail.com will be much easier to remember, since most people I know (who have email) recognize the google name. Since it seems anything to @googlemail.com will be redirected to @gmail.com (or they are the same, whatever), I'll start using @googlemail.com from now on in my documents and conversations.
  • by mark2003 (632879) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @09:16AM (#13825801)
    Maybe I haven't read this properly but I can't find explicitly stated anywhere that I will be able to keep my username after the change from @gmail to @googlemail - i.e. if I have xyz@gmail.com will they reserve xyz@googlemail.com for me?

    I have a really common name and getting a user name that was remotely like my real name was only possible by getting hold of an invite right at the start. I'll be really pissed off if someone else can swipe it. I've tried opening another account with myname@googlemail.com and it is not available - hopefully this indicates that they have reserved it for me.

  • Why not @google.com? And before you say "well that's for google employees" consider that msn, yahoo, etc already do that.
  • I don't know about you all, but I am really, really, really getting sick of IP rights. I see abuse after abuse after abuse....and very little valid use or even in the cases which are valid I greatly question the need.

    Sure...it's all supposed to help protect the artists/innovators, the little guys....but in most cases I do not see this happening. And right now there seems to be a complete lack of common sense among the legal systems.
  • Some more info (Score:3, Interesting)

    by houghi (78078) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @09:54AM (#13826087)
    on the Beeb: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4354954.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    It also tells about Germany where the same situation is happening and Google already lost. Looks as if Google tries to strangle companies out of their rightfull names and they lost.

    How would you feel is in the message Google was to be replaced by Microsoft and Gmail by Vista?
  • Just wait until Ghiradelli [robert.to] goes after them!
  • by jbarr (2233) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @11:49AM (#13827092) Homepage
    You may not realize this, but if you currently have a GMail account, you already have a GoogleMail account. Next time you login to Gmail, append googlemail.com to your username, and it will let you in. Have someone send you an email addressed to your.address@GoogleMail.com instead of your.address@GMail.com, and you will receive it.

    So, for those of you who are concerned about losing your coveted gmail address when "switching" to GoogleMail, don't fret. You already have it on GoogleMail!

    -Jim
    http://gmailtips.com/ [gmailtips.com]

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