Google on Wednesday morning said its Googlemail service is now open to anyone who wants an account. Previously the service, which provides users with 2.8GB of email storage space, has been by invitation only.
The service, known as Gmail outside the UK, has proved very popular. When it was launched, Google raised eyebrows with its practice of indexing the content of emails so that the company could place contextual adverts in them. Nevertheless, early ZDNet UK stories garnered hundreds of Talkbacks from people looking for free accounts.
Google ceded rights to the Gmail name in the UK following a court case with Independent International Investment Research, which registered the trademark Gmail in the time between Google's Webmail launch and the search firm's own attempt to trademark the Gmail name. Its woes did not end there: across western Europe, a quiet battle rages on between Google and Daniel Giersch, a German-born venture capitalist who insists he'll never relinquish his six-year-old trademark registration of "G-mail... und die Post geht richtig ab" (translation: G-mail... and the mail goes right off).
Google said it has also launched an application to let UK users access Gmail or Googlemail on their mobiles. The application, which will run on any Java-based phone with data services, synchronises Googlemail on the phone with the user's web-based account. Email attachments such as photos, PDF and text documents can all be viewed from mobile devices, said Google. The application is free of charge. Google said it will be available for download from here.