Gmail Gunning For More Users With Auto-Import Feature
Yesterday, Google's Gmail service added a feature that may earn it a lot of new users -- and some jealousy or outright hostility from competitors. If you open a new Gmail account, you should now be offered the option of copying your old mail and contacts from another mail service, then have messages sent to that old address automatically forwarded to your Gmail inbox for the next 30 days.
A technical-support document spells out the scope of this new option. It lists 45 providers around the world from which Gmail can bring over old messages and address books, including such big-name competitors as Comcast, Cox, EarthLink, Hotmail, Juno, NetZero, Verizon and Yahoo.
Some paid mail services have offered this kind of automatic mail-account import before, but I can't think of any free Web-mail services that have provided this level of help before. Most existing Gmail users don't have access to this feature yet, but Google says it will "slowly" add it to all free accounts.
This is the latest in a long line of features -- for instance, offline access through either your e-mail program or your Web browser; text, voice and video chatting; an optional to-do list function -- that have made competing Web-mail services look weak in comparison. If, that is, you don't mind Google's computers automatically serving up ads based on the content of incoming messages.
That last issue has kept me from using Gmail for personal use. Instead, I have most commercial mail -- for instance, newsletters from stores and booking confirmations from airlines -- sent to my Gmail account. Those messages should give Google's ad robots plenty to work with but shouldn't reveal too much compromising data about me.
(Today, Gmail may be presenting a different obstacle to users: Many report that they can't get to the service at all. My own account, however, appears to be working fine.)
Is this auto-import feature -- from Gmail or, hypothetically speaking, from another free service -- the kind of extra help you'd need to dump a longstanding mail provider?
May 14, 2009; 11:37 AM ET
Save & Share: Previous: Apple Ships Latest, Possibly Biggest Update to Mac OS X Leopard
Next: Flip, Kodak Bring HD Video To Go, For Less
Posted by: tbva | May 14, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: rtzohar | May 14, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: anonymous31 | May 14, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bokamba | May 14, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Annorax | May 17, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.