Gmail returns to UK

Google has revealed that the Gmail address is returning to the UK after a five-year hiatus.

Gmail returns to UK

The webmail service was launched in the UK as Gmail in 2004 and anybody who signed up before 19 October 2005 received an email address.

However, a legal dispute with Independent International Investment Research – which had the rights to the Gmail name – forced a name change to the far more cumbersome Google Mail on 19 October.

We estimate this name change will save approximately 60 million keystrokes a day

Google claimed that IIIR wanted $50 million for the name, and instead of paying up forced users to adopt the address after 19 October.

It appears those days are over though, with Google announcing that Google Mail users will now be able to revert back to Gmail addresses, or stick with what they’ve got, depending on preference.

In a tongue-in-cheek blog post, the company hailed the move, but failed to explain how it had won the rights to the name.

“If you already have a Google email account in the UK, you’ll soon have the option to switch your existing address to the matching one, but you’re also free to stick with,” explained Google software engineer Greg Bullock.

“And starting later this week, anybody who signs up for a new account in the UK will get an address. Since ‘gmail’ is 50% fewer characters than ‘googlemail,’ we estimate this name change will save approximately 60 million keystrokes a day. At about 217 microjoules per keystroke, that’s about the energy of 20 bonbons saved every day,” he concluded.

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