Google reopens Gmail addresses for UK users

Google has announced that after 5 years stuck with addresses, UK Gmail users will soon be able to switch to an address. That means you’ll be able to save a few seconds when you type in your friends’ Gmail addresses and Google has even calculated the amount of energy you’ll save by typing less characters…

UK Gmail users who signed up for the service before the 19 October 2005 will already have an @gmail address. But if you grabbed yours after that date a legal spat between Google and a UK firm meant you got an @googlemail one instead.

Independent International Investment Research had been using “Gmail” as the name of its webmail service for two years when Google launched Gmail in the UK. Google pulled out of negotiations with IIIR after 15 months. News that the the Gmail dispute had been settled quietly emerged in September 2009.

It’s curious that Google hasn’t changed UK users back to addresses until now. Google didn’t go into the details of how the UK Gmail address problem came to be solved in its blog post. Instead, it’s calculated how much energy the shorter addresses will save:

“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.”

Google will give you the option to switch your existing address to the matching address. Mail to your old @googlemail address will still reach you and you don’t have to switch if you don’t want to. New UK Gmail accounts will also now get the treatment. Phew!

Out now | £free | Gmail

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