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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Gmail Now Google Mail in UK

First, Gmail Germany had to change its name to “Google Mail.” Today Gmail UK follows because of a trademark dispute. Google states:

“You may have noticed the Google Mail logo. We are changing our service’s name in the UK. Starting October 19, 2005, all new accounts will have addresses. Don’t worry, though – all messages are being sent and delivered as before.”

Fair enough. But this part of the Google FAQ gives reason to worry for UK Gmail users:

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.”

During the German trademark case, Google said existing addresses wouldn’t change (and so far, they didn’t – which is good for me, as I’m in Germany). Either this time, something’s different, or Google is just a little more cautious. In any case if UK users would lose their Gmail addresses, I’m sure this might angry a lot of people; alerting everyone of your contacts of a new address can be quite annoying.

I’m sure in the future, Google will avoid to create new product names without the “Google” in it. Google has a global market and finding out about the trademark situation in all countries might not be trivial – apparently, it wasn’t for Google Inc. You can already see it happening with Google Talk (could have been GTalk), Google Reader, Google Blog Search and so on. While these names may not be as captivating as “Gmail”, they’re certainly going to be undisputed because Google owns the “Google” trademark.

[Via the forum.]


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