Google Mail becomes Gmail again?

Google Mail logo->Gmail logo

Back in 2005, Google had to rename their Gmail service in the UK to “Google Mail” after losing a trademark dispute. All pages were rebranded with the new Google Mail logo, and every single reference in text on the website was also changed to Google Mail. Any new users in the UK signing up were allocated @googlemail.com addresses instead of @gmail.com (this is the address that messages are sent out with, although all users can actually receive e-mail at either domain).

One side effect was that, becasue the new name was longer, taskbar icons or web browser tabs displaying the Google Mail inbox often could no longer fit in both the name and the number of new messages, making it impossible to see when new messages arrived. (A recent “Google Labs” feature to switch the order of the window title fixed this.)

Yesterday, I noticed that the logo had changed back to Gmail, and that all references in text have changed back to Gmail too. However, I couldn’t find any news story or even blog post commenting on this change. I seem to remember some time ago, there was a brief period one day where my mail account showed Gmail again, but it soon reverted to Google Mail. But when it still said Gmail today, I thought it might be a permanent change.

Unfortunately, I’ve just tried the sign-up page, and it’s still branded with “Google Mail” and offers @googlemail.com addresses. So either the name change is a glitch (seeing as Gmail’s had quite a few of those recently) or else it has only happened for those of us who obtained Gmail addresses before the change in 2005.

I much prefer the Gmail logo, rather than the rather more cumbersome Google Mail one. Also, it would be better if British users could use the same name to refer to the service as everyone else in the world (with the exception of other countries such as Germany where there are similar trademark issues).

So I’d be interested to hear from any Gmail users in the UK: have you noticed a change back to Gmail, and do you have an @googlemail or @gmail address?

14 responses to “Google Mail becomes Gmail again?”

  1. Newt

    I’m also in the UK with an @gmail address and I too noticed this today.

    I do however have my display language set to English (US), which I changed it to 4 years ago in the hope that I’d get the Gmail logo back, which I didn’t.

    I’m as surprised as you to find no mention of this anywhere on the internet besides this blog and some post on a Google help forum. I wonder what’s going on?

    Let’s hope it’s permanent! Gmail rolls off the tongue much more easily than “Google Mail” and I have always preferred it.

  2. Jonathan

    I have my language set to English (UK), even though the only difference seems to be “Bin” instead of “Trash”! The login screen still says “Google Mail”, and apparently users with @googlemail addresses still see Google Mail too. So the question is whether us seeing Gmail is a deliberate change (maybe so foreign visitors still see Gmail when in the UK) or if it’ll eventually be changed back.

  3. Newt

    I’ve just spoken to a mate of mine who got an @gmail account in the UK around the same time I did and his still says Google Mail.

    The only thing that makes me think it isn’t a bug now is the way the help centre is caked in Gmail logos, not just for me, but for every computer I’ve tried it on.

    Either they are phasing the Gmail name back in and for some reason we got it first as well as the help centre.

    Or It’s all just a big bug that will be sorted soon. As besides us and a few people on Twitter, no one else seems to be affected by this.

  4. Andrew Sinclair

    I’m in the UK and running a domain through Google Apps and the webmail has always been branded Google Mail but today I noticed that it had switched to Gmail branding. Actually, as I also access my mail using Thunderbird and IMAP, I spotted it because all my folders stopped working as part of the IMAP setup in Thunderbird requires you to define the root folder in Thunderbird as [Google Mail] so I had to change that config setting and then as that [Google Mail] bit gets appended to all my labels in the web interface I had to go in and change that as well. If they change back I won’t be a happy bunny!!

  5. Jonathan

    So today it’s back to “Google Mail” again. It was good while it lasted anyway.

    Andrew, have fun changing all your settings back! Is the domain service something you pay for? Maybe try an official complaint.

  6. Alastair

    My account has now changed from Googlemail and then to Gmail and is now going back to Googlemail again as I speak. Each time re-downloading 20,000 emails which then takes it past out account bandwidth in Google apps.

    Support is a joke as the best time they have come back in is about 2 weeks and then its a totally wrong answer as I would know as I have had to resolve it myself as they take too long to come back to be of any practical use. This is becoming unusable.

  7. Rowel

    The change affected the root directory for Imap. I was using [Google Mail] as the root folder path (imap server directory) and suddenly I couldn’t see my labels/folders and had to change the root to [Gmail]. Today, it’s changed back to [Google Mail] so I’ve had to change back again. Most annoying. I’m assuming, therefore, that this was a glitch?

  8. Newt

    This is really odd, I read an article yesterday from the FT saying it was permanent (http://bit.ly/3N0FP) and I wake up today and my inbox says Google Mail again!

    Luckily I use the web interface so I haven’t been having any problems. It’s just bizarre…

  9. Jonathan

    Perhaps they decided to stop the change temporarily because it was causing people problems with IMAP etc. as people have reported above. However, it seems strange to change people back again, ultimately causing them the problem three times over.

    It’s good news to see confirmation that we will have Gmail in the UK again. I hope they’ll eventually offer people stuck with Google Mail addresses the chance to change their primary displayed address to Gmail (although this should only be optional as some people may not want to change!)

  10. Andrew Sinclair

    Well I have had to change my IMAP settings back to [Google Mail] and rename all my labels (luckily I don’t have a huge number) but my webmail site remains branded Gmail.

    Google Apps are free for small users and apart from this minor glitch I’m more than happy (then again I only migrated over in August).

    There have been a few glitches with Google recently proving that even the best oiled machine can have a few problems.

  11. Agnieszka

    Hello, I’ve read your article and comments. It has been couple years now that I am with gmail.com account, and I appreciate all google apps. I’m based in UK and recently I was setting up an gmail account for my friend, unfortunatelly there is only googlemail.com domain available. Is there a possibility to swap the addresses? Gmail.com offers labs and wider range of useful options. Cheers!

  12. Jonathan

    If you use a proxy server based in a country that still allows gmail.com addresses, this is the address you are offered on sign-up. Once you have the account, you don’t need the proxy any more, so even a slow one will do for the sign-up process.

  13. golan

    i registered my in 2005 june as gmail letter in 2008 i couldnt log in i had to register as blabla @googlemail what e

  14. Jonathan

    Finally! Noticed the change first thing this morning.

    Googlemail to become Gmail in UK

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