Google Blogoscoped

Monday, April 5, 2004

Yahoo Gmail Group

I was researching my unofficial Gmail FAQ and saw there is now a Yahoo Gmail Group to discuss everything Gmail.

With interesting polls, like ... “Does Gmail is Hoax?”

And a lot of spam, like “mail: user unknown” or “Failure Advice”.

OK, if you only join one Gmail community this month, let it be Orkut’s.

Inside the Searcher’s Mind

Inside the Searcher’s Mind looks like an interesting read, but unfortunately you have to register to get it all.

Gmail Accounts

Strangely enough, it seems Google’s Gmail login interface reveals* which emails already exist. For example when I type the name “xiuwewe” – or anything obviously nonsensical – along with a random password, Gmail will tell me “There is no user with the email you specified”. Which means I’m able to try out any meaningful combination (between 6 and 30 characters) to find out existing user names**. E.g. or are indeed existing Gmail accounts, because this time I read “Enter the correct password above and ...” instead of the old “unknown user” alert.

*Gmail’s login screen is an inline frame inside the main page of the HTTPS connection.

**I notified Google of this via email.

The only good thing about this is you can find out wether or not your own favorite account name (in case you are not already part of the program) is still free. I’m feeling lucky. If your name is Jon, Jim, Dave or Ann, you’re out of luck with just your first name, though (remember, it must be at least 6 letters – which certainly doesn’t sound like a good limitation to me, but then again, of the 100,000 Jims in the world, 99,000 wouldn’t get the nick in the first place).

GoogleWatch on Gmail Privacy

“While Google brags that no humans will read your emails, the entire Gmail program will involve extensive automated profiling of you as an individual. Google will be sharing the non-identifiable portions of your profile with anyone they choose. If the ownership of Google changes, or there is a merger, the entire personally-identifiable profile will be available to the new owners or partners.

Finally, it’s all available to government officials all over the world, under whatever legal procedures are used in any particular jurisdiction. It is also available to civil litigants under discovery procedures authorized by a court. When you look at it this way, the one-gigabyte allowance for your email account becomes much less attractive.”
– Google Watch, Google covets your email address, April 2004

New Gmail Screenshots

Here are new screenshots of Gmail (which currently uses its frontpage to send Google engineer Paul Buchheit’s birthday greetings to April). [Via] Kevin Fox also features fresh Gmail screens from his side of the conversation.

In the meantime, the Google pagecount for “Gmail” (the latest addition to the Google OS) went from 16,300 on April 1st 2004 to 207,000 result pages today. “Google email” also went into the Yahoo Labs Concept Discovery Top 10.

And this badly redesigned Gmail is definitely not official.


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