The BBC are reporting that Google have had to rename Gmail in the UK to Google Mail due to a trademark dispute with Independent International Investment Research (IIIR) (they do not have the nicest of websites but anyhow). This is the second time this has happened, with Gmail not being able to be used by Google in Germany after a ruling in September. Did Google really not think to look beyond their own shores when they came up with a name? Or maybe they just thought that they could pay their way to using gmail elsewhere (surely not). Even with all their money, I cannot see Google choosing to waste time over such matters.
Either way, how long is it going to be before they rename all their mail services Google Mail? Over time, they are not going to want to maintain 2 different brands worldwide – they will surely merge them. Shareholder value and all that. On top of that, as was pointed out on the BBC, people were sending emails to the wrong domain because of this – hardly a benefit if users start to get confused. Better to get the pain over and done with now and change – they are of course still in beta so they could just launch under a new name. Not ideal.. but better than trying to change later.
[update] For those visitors looking for gmail in the UK – you can find it at either www.googlemail.com or www.gmail.com – note if you state you live in the UK you will get an email address @googlemail.com address.
[update2] Google have come to a settlement with the owners of the gmail trademark in the UK so all UK users should be able to get gmail accounts again shortly. You can read the BBC story on this here. British users with Googlemail addresses will be asked whether they wish to change their address. No date yet as to when this will happen.