UPDATED: See below.
Four years ago, in October 2005, Google voluntarily renamed its Gmail service as ‘Google Mail’ in the UK. This was to avoid a trademark dispute with a British company called Independent International Investment Research.
UK users have got used to signing up for @googlemail.com email addresses and seeing the GoogleMail logo all over gmail.com Today in the UK I logged into my Gmail account and something was different – I’ve got the Gmail logo back! Only last night I was a Google Mail user but now I’m back in the Gmail club.
I’m not the only one. A quick Twitter search reveals a handful of other people over the past week reporting their account has changed back to Gmail but reports have increased in the past few hours.
So, what’s happening? The options as I see it are:
- Google has come to an agreement with Independent International Investment Research
- Google lawyers have decided Independent International Investment Research aren’t much of a threat and they’ve decided there’s no danger in reverting to the Gmail name. Unlike a similar dispute in Germany, where Google lost the Gmail trademark, there has been no court case in the UK.
- There’s some sort of glitch in the system and the UK will be back to Google Mail soon. There is some evidence to suggest that this is possible. Not all UK users have changed over to the new name and when I log out of my account I still see the ‘Google Mail’ log in screen.
Fingers crossed UK users will all be back calling Gmail by its proper name soon. We’ll keep you updated as we hear more.
Google has told The Financial Times: “We reached a settlement and are once again able to offer @gmail.com addresses in the UK. The product name will change in all UK inboxes within the upcoming months. This will not change users’ experience and Gmail will continue to offer the same product features as Google Mail.”