(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Friday, April 02, 2004
From email to gmail!

The New York Times reports that Google is beta-testing a free email service called GMail:
The new service, to be named Gmail, is scheduled to be released on Thursday, according to people involved with the plan. It will be "soft launched," they said, in a manner that Google has followed with other features that it has added to its Web site, with little fanfare and presented initially as a long-running test. ... Google will offer consumers better access to searching their own e-mail and could well upset the industry balance by offering free access to services that previously were available only by paying a monthly subscription fee. The standard industry practice is to offer tiered e-mail services, providing only limited storage free and charging higher fees to users who want to preserve a larger number of e-mail messages for capabilities like online storage. Google, by contrast, is planning a service to be supported by advertising that will permit its users to store very large amounts of mail at no cost. One internal Google study put the operational cost of maintaining e-mail storage at less than $2 a gigabyte, enough to preserve tens of thousands of messages of typical length.
Okay, with a gigabyte of storage space, I'm be there with bells on! I suspect, if successful, this could really change the way Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail operate and seriously challenge the viability of their current pay-for-storage philosophy. Of course, there are at present some fairly large privacy concerns, as The Register points out. But the terms and conditions at Google argue that since a program/bot is reading the mail to target advertising, then it's not really invading privacy. Hmmm. Not sure I trust that one! That said, I'm definitely going to give it a try as my secondary email. The really interesting day will be when GMail goes public allowing customers to sign up. I suspect an awful lot of people will be trying to be the first to get cool addresses. Personally, I'll be there in the thick of it, because I rather fancy being tama@gmail.com or tama@googlemail.com! I wonder if I'm going to become rather Googlecentric if GMail does take my fancy ... Googling my Email, Googling a blog via blogger and using the Google Search Toolbar in Firefox as much as my own bookmarks! Perhaps tama@planetgoogle.com would be more appropriate!


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