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The Downide of Your ISP Turning to Gmail 266

Posted by kdawson
from the Google-Apps-Partner-Edition dept.
SlinkySausage writes "Google is offering ISPs the opportunity to turn over their entire email operation to Google, with all customer email hosted as Gmail accounts. This would allow Google to grow its user base rapidly (Google is a distant third with 51M users compared to Yahoo's 250M and Hotmail's 228M). There are some obvious benefits to end users — Google is offering ISPs mailboxes of up to 10GB per user. APCMag.com has posted an interesting piece looking at the dark side of Google's offer. Not least is in its reinforcing of the attachment people have to their ISP's email address, making it harder to change ISPs if a better deal comes along."
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The Downide of Your ISP Turning to Gmail

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  • by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Monday May 21, 2007 @12:29AM (#19204591) Homepage
    Dont shash eeditors use Forefox? its gut a bilt in spellchcker..
  • Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fabs64 (657132) <beaufabry+slashdot,org&gmail,com> on Monday May 21, 2007 @12:30AM (#19204593)
    As opposed to it being so much easier to change your ISP email if it's hosted with your ISP?

    That comment doesn't make any sense.

    Just so you know, the latest versions of Firefox have spell-checking built in :-)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Thing is, for commercial accounts Google lets you use your own domain name, e.g. Fred@FredEnterprises.com, not limited to Fred@FredEnterprises.gmail.com. That's got to be more of an attractor than keeping the domain name of an ISP you're familiar with.

      Yes there's a strong reason to keep your old email account, but for a small business it would be far more compelling to have your own registered domain I would think. Of course you could talk another ISP into hosting your own choice of a registered MX / SO

      • Re:Eh? (Score:4, Informative)

        by lilfields (961485) on Monday May 21, 2007 @02:08AM (#19205299) Homepage

        Thing is, for commercial accounts Google lets you use your own domain name, e.g. Fred@FredEnterprises.com, not limited to Fred@FredEnterprises.gmail.com. That's got to be more of an attractor than keeping the domain name of an ISP you're familiar with.
        You can do this with free accounts too, as I assume by commercial you mean Google Apps? Anyhow, even if you are talking about free accounts, free accounts are able to pull email from POP3 servers into the Gmail account and use the pulled address to reply...here is an example [alienwareniche.com]; so really as long as you were able to keep the POP3, you could always keep your old account.

        Disclosure: I run the site linked
    • And what happens when Google rolls out services competing directly with ISPs?
    • Re:Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lars512 (957723) on Monday May 21, 2007 @12:57AM (#19204823)
      The "dark side" does seem to be not very well thought through. Basically, it argues that by giving them a much better email service (for webmail at least), customers might become more attached to their isp-specific email address. So it's actually arguing for worse ISP service, so that nobody will accept it and everyone will choose some more "liberating" mail provider. Give me a break. Better service is better service. It's your own problem if your ISP ties you in this way (they all do), and at least here there's the chance for an easy migration to a generic Gmail account if Google pursues this strategy. Customers didn't even have that chance before.
      • I agree. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by WindBourne (631190)
        Think it might have something to do with all those MS/MSN ads that I see on their site? If MS is really trying to buy Yahoo, then the last thing that they need is Google coming along and suddenly grabbing a HUGE percentage of that market. In fact, if MS could, they would probably buy nothing BUT Yahoo Mail. Right now, MS wants to make MS Live be their strategy to beating Google.
      • by rtb61 (674572)
        You completely ignore the main issue of privacy and of google penchant for data mining. You specifically use your ISP in your own country to ensure there is some legal basis for data privacy and your private email is your private email.

        Any ISP that decides in it's infinite greed to hand over email to google will suffer the repercussions of any angry customer base.

        I don't use gmail, I don't trust google with my privacy, after all they are basically an advertising company who puts profits ahead of privacy

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by yulek (202118)
          until mail servers talk over encrypted connections private email is a myth.
    • by catbutt (469582)
      It's only a downside if compared to just using regular gmail (which by far is the easiest service to leave....you can use your own domain name your email address, they offer free forwarding, and they don't kill your account if you don't log in for 60 days or whatever it is the others do)
    • by catwh0re (540371)
      I thought that too.. gmail lets you use it like a POP account, meaning it would at most emulate the exact same, not more, problems as any regular ISP email account.

      Plus there is probably a chance that a portable email feature will turn up in the future, or at least some kind of linking to another gmail account.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by clark0r (925569)
      "Not least is in its reinforcing of the attachment people have to their ISP's email address"

      So how about you just register yourself another email address, just like you would if you used your ISPs regular webmail. I'm not sure how this would STOP you from changing ISPs or how it would make it harder. I've never used my ISPs email address simply because if I change ISP, I would have to inform everybody that i'd switched.
      • by Wolfrider (856)
        Going with Google email at an ISP level is a BAD IDEA because Gmail **searches** your email archives and displays **ADS** based on the Content it finds.

        While I do have a gmail account, I really don't use it for anything important.
    • by jimicus (737525)
      Not necessarily. I use my own domain for email, which forwards everything to my ISP so I can download it through POP3.

      My ISPs SMTP relay is set up to allow customers coming from their IP blocks to set up any "from" address they like. Therefore, it's more or less transparent to anyone I exchange email with.

      If my ISP drops their POP3 service in favour of a webmail-based interface on Google, I may lose this flexibility. I don't know if Google allows you to set your own from: address now, but it's not really
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Monday May 21, 2007 @12:30AM (#19204595)
    I have multiple accounts on Yahoo I don't use anymore because Gmail is so much better, but which I keep around incase there are accounts I signed up for that I forgot to transfer over.

    And how strong is Yahoo's protection against fake accounts these days?
    • by ZakuSage (874456) on Monday May 21, 2007 @12:40AM (#19204699)
      Perhaps more importantly, how many of them are actual users? I get spam from "*@yahoo.com" emails on a daily basis.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by larry bagina (561269)
        spam generating zombie PCs generally falsify the From: header in outgoing mail, based on email addresses found on the victim's computer. The @yahoo.com email address would therefore indicate that yahoo mail is quite popular.
    • What constitutes a fake account?

      Mine has completely fake information about me, but I don't abuse the account (I'm not a spammer or use it for fraudulent purposes).
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by watchingeyes (1097855)
      Yes it is. Every traffic comparison (not account comparison) I've seen also points to Gmail being behind both Hotmail and Yahoo!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by asninn (1071320)
      Indeed - both Yahoo and hotmail are artificially inflating their numbers. Yahoo requires you to have an account if you want to use just about anything on Yahoo (like Yahoo Groups, for example), and while a hotmail account isn't strictly required to use msn (the IM service), 99% of the people I know use one, anyway - M$ just tries you to steer away from signing up with a third-party email address in any way it can (or at least it did when *I* signed up).

      So, yeah, it's quantity vs. quality. Maybe GMail *still
  • What's the point? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rm999 (775449) on Monday May 21, 2007 @12:30AM (#19204603)
    Why wouldn't the user just get a gmail account? Who needs the extra 8 gigs of space and the genericISP.com e-mail?
    • Well, it seems "the user" isn't. If your ISP did, then an account would automatically be created when you signed up with your ISP, increasing Gmail's numbers, if not usage.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Well, it seems "the user" isn't. If your ISP did, then an account would automatically be created when you signed up with your ISP, increasing Gmail's numbers, if not usage.

        Well its not "the" point but here's a point: If Google does this and gobbles up a lot of the non-major ISP mail systems, at least they'll all be standard as far as the mail goes. That makes less headaches for all those completely computer illiterate people that just won't stop asking me for free tech support because I'm too nice to say no.

      • by rm999 (775449)
        And the ISP pays for it...
  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday May 21, 2007 @12:32AM (#19204617)

    Not least is in its reinforcing of the attachment people have to their ISP's email address, making it harder to change ISPs if a better deal comes along.

    And ... ?

    I don't see what the difference would be. Whether your email is hosted by your ISP or by Google for your ISP. It's the same account name.

    If anything was a problem it would be whether Google would "index" your email so it could target ads at you.
  • Blogspam (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Bungi (221687) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Monday May 21, 2007 @12:32AM (#19204623) Homepage
    C'mon, how is this "dark". Nothing in TFA justifies the submission or the connotations it appears to convey. "Google might charge for the service", but all they are saying is it will be "affordable" and ISPs can request more information. Holy shit, I can see the evil oozing out of that one.

    "People will have to switch email addresses" Mother of god, someone stop this company. They will be the end of us all.

    • by acidrain (35064)

      Holy shit, I can see the evil oozing out of that one.

      The one wee bit of evil that I'm seeing here is that Google is using the same tactics as Microsoft. Everyone uses Windows because it comes preloaded by the OEM, so now Google wants Gmail "preloaded" by the ISP. Smart tactic actually.

      • by gbjbaanb (229885)
        worse, even if you choose not to use Google (for whatever reason you might have in the future, say because it starts targetting ads at you from your inbox contents), you might end up using it anyway because your ISP has outsourced mail to them.
  • by teh moges (875080) on Monday May 21, 2007 @12:36AM (#19204661) Homepage
    The obvious downside is that Microsoft/MSN would lose customers... What, nobody noticed that the article is one ninemsn (Australia's MSN website)? This website has been known to have one-sided (Microsoft's side) stories and "news".
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2007 @01:19AM (#19204989)
      "The obvious downside is that Microsoft/MSN would lose customers... What, nobody noticed that the article is one ninemsn (Australia's MSN website)? This website has been known to have one-sided (Microsoft's side) stories and "news"."

      people probably didn't notice it was ninemsn because it ISN'T a ninemsn article. It is an APC article, APC are anything but Microsoft friendly, they even regularly ship linux distros on there included DVD/CD they ship with the magazine.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by teh moges (875080)
        *checks link again*
        Nope, APC article, NineMSN website. This also has nothing to do with linux. It's an MSN issue, not a Windows issue.
  • Your own domain (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dj245 (732906) on Monday May 21, 2007 @12:53AM (#19204797) Homepage
    I bought my own domain some time ago. Its a small price to pay for an email address that never changes and you can carry through physical and ISP moves. I haven't figured out what to do with the website (aside from important document backups which are not search engine indexed) but the email service has been great. I do use the catchall service to try to track which companies sell my email address. So far I haven't caught anybody doing anything sneaky, although Prosound Stage and Lighting refuses to take me off their list (don't buy anything from them, you'll never get off the list)
    • Re:Your own domain (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Wayne247 (183933) <slashdot@laurent.ca> on Monday May 21, 2007 @01:14AM (#19204961) Homepage
      Bingo. I do exactly that as well. Not only do I have the luxury to obtain an insanely easy to remember and spell email address, but I can create as many accounts as I need. Some throw-aways for website registrations, some permanent for family members.

      Thus, I am free from *anyone's* uncertain future business practices. Will google ever charge? Will ads ever become too obstrusive? Will a general outage ever eat my emails for days while hundreds of google admins scramble to fix the problem?

      It's becoming easier by the day to setup your own server, especially with all the linux distributions targeted for it and howtos and packages and blogs blogging on and on about how to setup your own Ubuntu server.

      Plus, I have the added bonus of throwing whatever services I see fit on that box. A group of friends want a forum? Mom wants to put some pictures on the web? I have a ridiculously large file to use at work/friends or something? It does it all.
  • by Jartan (219704) on Monday May 21, 2007 @12:55AM (#19204809)
    Philosophy majors or debaters out there must have some fancy term for this kind of misleading argument? Clearly the only thing google is doing here is offering a service to ISPs that will maintain the status quo yet the article author is glossing that over and acting like google will now be responsible for the way ISPs might use what is essentially a software package that doesn't do anything new at all.
    • Much ado about nothing?

      Making a mountain out of a mole hill?

      Yet another boring post just because it has "google" in there.
  • Customers who make use of their ISPs email have a significant disincentive to switch ISPs: their email address will change. This is similar to the situation most cellphone customers used to be in before legislation required cellphone providers to implement number portability.

    So the cost the ISP will have to consider isn't just the cost of Google mail versus the cost of hosting their own, they'll also have to consider the effect going with Google mail will have on their customer retention rates. ISPs

  • Privacy? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kinbote (100263)

    I don't want Google reading and storing my mail in perpetual archives!

    I expect the feds love all this consolidated data collection that Google makes so convenient for them.

  • IMAP!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday May 21, 2007 @01:16AM (#19204967)

    If the ISP had IMAP support, that'd be a downside right there, since Gmail still doesn't!

  • by ShooterNeo (555040) on Monday May 21, 2007 @01:27AM (#19205049)
    This article seems force itself to make up reasons why this new service could be a bad thing. Whatever. Google may not be the second coming, but they offer some of the most reliable software I've ever used. It also works quickly and seamlessly : gmail and google are both faster than trying to do email and search using applications on my own computer!

    The gmail spam filter is also a marvel. For some reason, it isn't talked about much : but in my experience, the spam filter is almost bulletproof. It has caught thousands of spam, with maybe one or 2 false positives that I have noticed. Maybe 10 spam have leaked through in the 2 years I have had gmail.

    The charging of isps for this service only makes sense : google needs to have other revenue sources than advertising to be healthy, and they offer a more space than free gmail, which has ads.

    This is a good thing. A very good thing. The only potential negative is portable of email addresses : but the ISP is google's customer. Not the end user. If the ISP doesn't want their email to be portable, then google will cater to that. (and the isp owns the domain, in any case)
    • In fact, their spam filter is so good, that I do not get any, any more. In the early days, I use to have a number of spam. But it seems that more and more spamers do not waste their bandwidth trying to get through gmail. Instead, they send it to others.
  • by doormat (63648) on Monday May 21, 2007 @01:28AM (#19205059) Homepage Journal
    Why not just let users keep using user@isp.net and just tweak gmail to use that as the primary email address instead of user@gmail.coml. If ISPs are paying for it, who cares about how many gmail addresses people see and just take the money and run.
  • Article forgets... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MetalliQaZ (539913)
    This article doesn't seem to put much effort into proving their point. In addition, they seem to completely ignore the possibility of Google forcing ISP mail users to submit to an agreement of their own devising, causing all personal email to be subject to data mining efforts. Whether it be for advertising or for future nefarious purposes, its much more of a downside than is "no domain name portability (boo-hoo)".

    -d
    • Will this Googlemail from ISP's allow you to send exe's/zipped exe's?
      My current ISP lets me do this whereas my gmail account doesn't...

  • Article Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by cgenman (325138) on Monday May 21, 2007 @01:47AM (#19205173) Homepage
    Since so few people seem to be RTFA...

    1. Google announces that ISP's will be able to release a google-apps branded for their users. This includes domain management, [google.com] docs, spreadsheets, calendar, web page creator, gmail, and 24 hour phone support.

    2. MSN Austrailia points out that the ISP's will have to pay for the service. MSN Austrailia also points out that Google will tie users to their ISP account / domain instead of a more generic Google account. And they point out that Google's smallest ISP size bracket, 0 - 200,000 users, covers nearly all of the ISPs in Austrailia.

    MSN Austrailia also takes pains to poke jabs at competing ISP's, specifically leaves out information, and otherwise sounds a lot like FUD.

    • by jimicus (737525)
      1. Google announces that ISP's will be able to release a google-apps branded for their users. This includes domain management, docs, spreadsheets, calendar, web page creator, gmail, and 24 hour phone support.

      Doesn't say anything about making domain management available to users. It only says "manage your domain and user accounts online" for ISPs.

      And I am pretty sure Google will allow ISPs to decide exactly what subset of those options they make available.

      Want domain management as a customer (or even to jus
  • Not just ISPs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grilled-cheese (889107) on Monday May 21, 2007 @01:57AM (#19205241)
    The new google partner program doesn't just benefit corperations. There is a very tempting for educational institutions aswell http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/admins/edu_be nefits.html [google.com] with benefits such as being free.

    My university was plagued by unrelieability in several of its web services. After we made the transition there has been significantly reduced downtime for endusers http://www.acu.edu/news/2007/070410_google_launch. html [acu.edu]. One of the more beneficial changes for us was that students don't have their email expire after they graduate.

    There are only a few drawbacks to the switch I've seen sofar. Migrating from one email server to another is not always easy. For us, it involved basically doing multiple pop3 fetches to move old email. The other drawback I've noticed is, while google may boast higher reliability, there is still one crucial piece that may have problems from time to time, Single Sign On (SSO). Google has to be able to cooperate with your SSO server sucessfully to syncronize properly.

    The most interesting side effect I've noticed is that professors nolonger have any reason not to accept the odf and ods file formats, thanks to Google Docs&Spreadsheets. Definate boost for open file formats.
  • B.S. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RKBA (622932) on Monday May 21, 2007 @02:13AM (#19205331)
    SBC offered their Internet customers the option of switching from their own Prodigy provider to Yahoo email. I declined for obvious reasons (privacy primarily), but switching ISP's is trivial for me because most of my email is sent to Spamex.com email addresses of my choosing such as Whatever_I_Want@spamex.com [mailto] and all I have to do to switch ISP's is just change the redirection of my Spamex email forwarding account.

    I also even purchased some cheap webhosting space so that I could run my own mail server and have as many email accounts that were independent of my ISP as I want. By the way, in my opinion StartLogic.com sucks really badly, but BlueHost.com has everything I want and more and works great. BlueHost is the only cheap webhost I know of that offers free SSH shell access.

    While I'm off the topic ;-), all I really want is a webhost with shell access, lots of cheap webspace, enough bandwidth for my needs (a few TB's per month plus decent download speeds), and none of the GUI interface nonsense and all the fancy web applications that most web hosts provide these days. All I want is the type of account a university student or professor might have at their institution for example. Anyone know of any *Nix/BSD based webhosts offering this type of bare-bones service? Thanks.
  • "(..) making it harder to change ISPs if a better deal comes along."

    So... Setting up Outlook Express with the phone support poses too much of a challenge? POP3 not doing it for ya? Hell, I can even ask GMail to import mails as POP3 from my other Gmail App addresses (or the other way around). AFAIR, Google touted this as being "pro-consumer", for the reason that there's no lock in to Gmail, nor Gmail for your domain.

    Of course, a case can be made for them reinforcing the binding by being excessively aweXom
  • That's the problem with monopolies period.

    When it comes to data like email there should be a choice of providers, your data should be easy to back up and you should keep multiple backups preferably geographically spaced far apart.

    I'm not too worried about email though. Many providers provide email and there's even a choice between free mail providers. I use pop to store it and web mail at my ISP to read sometimes.

    Now usenet is another story. Find me another decent usenet reader/posting software that's free.
  • Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by watchingeyes (1097855)
    How is the fact that you would be using your ISP's domain name a downside to Google Apps Partner Edition? That makes no sense.

    Whether your ISP is hosting its e-mail services on Google Apps, Windows Live Mail, their own servers or wherever else, this same problem is present. This isn't a problem with Google Apps Partner Edition, this is a problem with ISP supplied e-mail services period.

    Privacy issues would be a much more valid concern IMHO.
  • That way they can get the articles spell-checked.

    I don't think they have a logic-check yet though.
  • I think for most users, they could stick to around 2 GB, however, I believe adding another 10 MB to their 10 MB max attachement size would make a lot of users happy. Sharing digital photos is popular these days, and with the modern OMG 6 Megapixels! cameras and users not that technically minded, it's easy for them to slip out large photos, even when compressed to jpg. Of course, the proper "solution" is to teach the users, but still, it would help for sharing digital media in any shape greatly if they just
    • I have several issues with what you are suggesting:

      1. Most people use a POP email client to retrieve their email to their local PC. Although the POP protocol does allow for leaving messages on the mail server and/or downloading selected messages, this level of control is not accessible from most clients and I, personally, would want to be able to control whether or not I downloaded an email with a 10MB attachment - especially if I was away from home on a slow link.

      2. 10MB attachment sizes just makes laz

    • by oGMo (379)

      I believe adding another 10 MB to their 10 MB max attachement size would make a lot of users happy.

      However this would make a lot more users unhappy. 10MB is already ridiculous for attachments... sending over 100k is just bad netiquette. Mail servers (and often clients) don't handle large content well, and that's not their purpose. It's even worse than sending HTML messages. Increasing this would just encourage the idiots.

      Besides, what's the point? If you want to share photos, Google provides Picas [google.com]

  • by Vskye (9079) on Monday May 21, 2007 @02:51AM (#19205539)
    I really don't see how this would work that great, unless Google supplies the ISP the ability to change passwords, add email id's and such. This would have work with the ISP's current software, etc. (blah blah)
     
    I work at a rather large ISP, and I really don't see the advantages. First off, customers always forget passwords, they already get 10MB of space per email account, and we allow 6 total, per account. (6x10=60MB)
     
    The actual problem, is the people that just use the webmail interface, vs using a email client.(outlook, thunderbird, mac mail, etc) They use the email server as a storage space for picture attachments and such and they run out of space. Yep, over quota. Normally I explain to them that they are better off using a email client that actually downloads the mail to their computer, thus the quota issue won't effect them. Also, I recommend a good spam filter, besides the one we provide. ;)
    • You sir provide a poor service to your customers.

      And yes, I'm sure Google has thought of the password issue.
      • by Vskye (9079)
        Really? You should actually work at an ISP and provide tech support, and then talk to me about your actual experience.
    • by bmo (77928) on Monday May 21, 2007 @03:18AM (#19205695)
      "Iwork at a rather large ISP, and I really don't see the advantages. First off, customers always forget passwords, they already get 10MB of space per email account, and we allow 6 total, per account. (6x10=60MB)"

      Wow. The local Unix BBS offers me a half gig.

      Welcome to (deleted) Public Access Unix
      Quotas: There is an unenforced limit of 500 megs per user.
      Type "rules" for information on inappropriate use of the system.
      Note: If you're a new Unix user, enter "(deleted)help" for some general hints.
      >>>> No background processes are allowed!

      I've got a couple of gmail accounts too. I hardly use my ISP's email because it's too limited. To top if off, you think that your company is magnanimous in "giving" 10 megs per user. Disk space is dirt cheap, and easily paid for by user subscriptions. If you're not offering a gig, which costs somewhere on the order of 30 to 50 cents in hardware, then you're not really offering anything that your customers are paying for. 10 megs/user, 60 total? Nickel and diming, literally.

      --
      BMO
      • by Vskye (9079)
        That's thinking. I'm sure your local public access Unix provider has 200,000+ customers either. If you would have rmfr, it's for EMAIL. Not a customer backup drive. I agree it's not much space, but IF YOU DOWNLOAD IT TO YOUR COMPUTER, what's the big deal? I use other email services also, like gmail and yahoo. Hell, I have a old rocketmail address yet. (that was bought out by yahoo)

        If you want to provide users with 500MB of space times 200,000 then go for it. I'll be LMAO when I read your bankruptcy
        • by bmo (77928)
          "what's the big deal?"

          The big deal is that some ISPs, especially American ones, sit on their fat asses and not upgrade equipment, and the attitude from the OP is that "you can like it or you can lump it." Well...(steve martin)EXCUUUUUSE MEEEE!(/steve martin)

          "If you want to provide users with 500MB of space times 200,000 then go for it."

          Google and Yahoo does. I don't see them crying.

          "500MB x 200,000 might be a tad minor to some, consider backing this all up times a factor of at least 3."

          Cry me a

    • by danwarne (545932)

      I work at a rather large ISP, and I really don't see the advantages. First off, customers always forget passwords, they already get 10MB of space per email account, and we allow 6 total, per account. (6x10=60MB)
      Err... Google is offering 10GB per user, not 10MB.
  • by antikronos (1001219) on Monday May 21, 2007 @03:07AM (#19205619)
    Google offering email to ISP's does not surprise me. Google is investing the majority of their advertising profits into bandwidth and storage. There are a range of reasons why it is a logical next step for Google to become your next ISP:
    • They already host all websites (Google Cache). Since they already got storage, check-out, advertising, a HTML-editor(they might need an extra acquisition to really pursue this successfully), statistics and forms (Google grid), it is a small step for them to offer free hosting with all the tools you need. So the costs remain the same but the income doubles
    • Offering free hosting will offer Google huge cost savings in processor-capacity and bandwidth. That is because they don't have to crawl sites anymore, because they already got them! This will save them exactly 25 times the size of a site, per site in terms of bandwith.
    • They can even better trace users and thus increase advertising accuracy and income.
    • Google does not only want to control Awareness and Interest of end-users, but also Trial and Adoption, so they can make money on purchases as well (Google check-out), not only advertising.
    • Huge investments in storage, capacity and double-click are enabling them to do so
    • Offering end-users bandwidth and connectivity, will dramatically increase Google's' ability to track behavior and allows them to be even more efficient
    • Being better in advertising and having more economies of scale allows Google to compete successfully with the ISP's
    So their actions over the last few years are completely logical from this perspective. From an ISP's perspective and an end-user perspective they are (or should) be terrifying.
  • by Yeechang Lee (3429) <ylee@pobox.com> on Monday May 21, 2007 @03:24AM (#19205727) Homepage
    I agree that the so-called "dark side" the summary mentions is pretty lame. That said, anyone who uses an ISP (or a company) email address as his primary means of contact is, unless he owns the ISP or company, making a big mistake. Everyone should be using permanent, lifetime email addresses that can be changed as necessary to forward mail to whatever actual accounts (including ISP or company) they are using at the moment.

    Three ways to get a lifetime address:
    • A free email service. GMail offers free mail forwarding and I presume some other services do so as well.
    • A university alumni address. There's a good chance your alma mater offers one. Universities benefit because they get to stay in contact with potential alumni donors. Institutions of higher education are more stable than almost any other entity in society, so the odds joe@alumni.example.edu will still work 50 years from now are as high as you can hope for.
    • A for-pay forwarding service. Pobox [pobox.com] has been around since 1995 and I've been a customer since 1996. The current price is $20 a year for three pobox.com addresses and some other features like spam filtering. As for whether customers can rely on any one company to stick around, Pobox's current FAQs have long since been "corporatized" but a rough paraphrase of a question in an earlier version went something like this:

      Q: How do I know you'll be around in the future?

      A: Will you? (Ha! Didn't think of that, did you?)

      I prefer my pobox.com address over my university's alumni address because the latter assigns a letter-and-number userid I've never liked. I could always start using my gmail.com address instead, under the presumably-safe assumption Google and GMail will be around for a long time, but as a firm believer in TANSTAAFL [wikipedia.org] I can't believe that GMail and/or forwarding mail to another address will remain free forever. Meanwhile, Pobox has a more than ten-year history and counting with better than 99.44% uptime. Even were I to switch to GMail for my day-to-day email access as opposed to the Emacs-based mailer [wonderworks.com] I've been using for more than a decade, I suspect I'd still give out my pobox.com address instead of the gmail.com one.

      If you prefer gaining a permanent address by supporting a worthy nonprofit, two possibilities are IEEE [ieee.org] and the Free Software Foundation [fsf.org]. Each costs annually considerably more than $20, of course; if FSF would offer some sort of lifetime membership for a reasonable sum I'd probably do it, though.
  • Undernet will not let you register a nick name from a Google mail account. My ISP, Qwest, really thought that they were going to get me to use a msn account on my Linux box. I'm not sure if it is even possible but I've been bitten too many times by the M$ beast to ever want to try again. There are other places that don't like you using 'free' email services either.
  • Privacy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Musfuut (1104997)
    I was just thinking about the direction Google seems to be headed concerning privacy. They collect IP addresses related to search queries, and perhaps browsing to sites with Google ads. That isn't news. They have a good idea of what you like, where you go, when, and why. Then their Gmail service takes all of that and ties it into who you talk to, when, and about what, and further archives all of it. Also not news.

    They offer their Google Earth and Desktop applications for download. Each of these seemingly us
  • Google's fundamental selling point is a single one: laziness. "You can quit spending your resources and time on applications like webmail -- and leave the work to our busy bees at the Googleplex," Middleton wrote.

    Laziness? Goddamn, do I hate that word. [slashdot.org]

    Why is outsourcing a complex system like email/calendar to a known and proven provider with one of the best data-centres in the world deemed to be 'laziness'? Isn't the whole point that it is cheaper and/or better than the ISP doing it themselves, and hence good business, and will benefit their users?

    Laziness? Yeah, I much prefer software where I really have to work to get any kind of results.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I need to bang in a nail - hand me that fi

  • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:09AM (#19208199) Homepage
    I, for one, welcome the new Gmail overlords. Here's why:

    I had a DSL account with AT&T/SBC/Yahoo in Connecticut. The e-mail address is @snet.net. I have similar accounts for my wife and daughter.

    I recently moved to Ohio, and pickup up a new DSL subscription from AT&T/SBC/Yahoo. At the time, I asked about keeping my old e-mail addresses. I was told, "no problem". I spoke with tech support when I put my DSL modem online, and they said the transfer would be taken care of.

    After about two months, the old e-mail addresses were "suspended", evidently because they were no longer "linked" with an active DSL account. After EIGHT attempts (phone, e-mail, IM) to get this fixed, I have been given a combination of contradictory answers, finger-pointing, and "the runaround". Level 2 tech support seems to have no avenue of escalation to get this fixed. One of the more common answers goes like this: "We can register e-mail addresses from ANY other SBC domain, EXCEPT the SNET.NET region.

    I managed to persuade a level 2 tech to "un-suspend" my e-mail accounts, but she warned me, "They're just going to get re-suspended in two months..." Now, THAT'S customer service!!!

    The problem seems to be related to some kind of internal billing software issue. Evidently, the left hand is unable to work cooperatively with the right hand. AT&T/SBC bought SNET several years ago. If they can't move a customer smoothly across domains, they need a wholesale reorg of IT until they can operate like one company.

    Gmail can't possibly be any worse than AT&T/SBC/Yahoo. NEVER, EVER RELY ON AT&T/SBC/YAHOO FOR E-MAIL. THEIR MIND-BOGGLING STUPIDITY MAKES THEM UNSUITABLE FOR RUNNING AN E-MAIL SYSTEM. I honestly don't think Google can be any worse. And besides, Gmail works reasonably well on my Blackberry.
  • Forget ISP's (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doctor Faustus (127273) <[grO.dnalevelCmailliW] [ta] [todhsalS]> on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:46AM (#19208603) Homepage
    What about offering GMail to companies for their own employees? I understand most companies wouldn't want Google hosting their data, so how about a GMail appliance?

    I try not to do it often or with anything sensitive, because again, I know my company probably doesn't want Google hosting their data, but when I really need to be able to find something again, I send it to my GMail account. There, a single search will bring it up in under a second, vs. a 20 minute search through Outlook that may or may not find anything (when we were on GroupWise, it was more like five minutes, and it would be found).
  • Cost? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lewp (95638) on Monday May 21, 2007 @01:45PM (#19210709) Journal

    Google is being rather coy about the pricing, merely inviting ISPs and other interested parties to apply and learn more, but does suggest in its product information page that the service will be offered "affordably".

    Honestly, nowadays, it's hard to imagine Google being able to price Gmail high enough that ISPs will think they can do it cheaper, better, in-house. Running email services is one of the worst shit jobs you can find in technology. Good, competent people who can actually do it right aren't cheap, because the work sucks. Keeping clueless users safe from spam and viruses (something you're actually expected to do, no matter how much they like to click on .exes from strangers who claim to be selling porno) is labor-intensive, no matter how much you automate it, just keeping up is a bitch. And the storage, CPU, and network resources required to keep things going will be increasing (faster and faster) indefinitely.

    Every ISP in the world would be happy to unload their email problems on someone else. I expect Google will find a lot of takers, even if they gouge them a bit. FWIW, at least Gmail gets more things right than most ISPs.

    (Note that running your own personal inbound mailserver still isn't that bad. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about large ISPs running mail farms for tens- or hundreds-of-thousands of users. I've been there, and will never touch the shit again. Hell, when I did it things were a lot easier than they are now, because the spam deluge hadn't even really started and users didn't expect all their attachments to be virus-scanned and their mail to be collaboratively filtered.)

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