Gmail makes it easy to switch mail accounts: Will it matter?

Google has made it much easier to switch email accounts. Now you can move your contacts over to Gmail without falling into a configuration rut that most folks avoid.

Google has made it much easier to switch email accounts. Now you can move your contacts over to Gmail without falling into a configuration rut that most folks avoid. The big question is whether it'll matter. 

The hubbub over what is essentially a new feature of Gmail is surprising. The Webheads will tell you that Gmail is much better because it organizes email into conversations. My dirty little secret: After five threads of email "conversation" in Gmail I really don't give a crap anymore.

And that gets to another point. Is Gmail compelling enough to really convince regular people---those with Yahoo and AOL accounts---to give Google's email service a go? The Gmail interface is swell and I like it, but I like Yahoo Mail's too. The two email services are different animals and I have two accounts. 

I could consolidate accounts, but why? If I move all my Yahoo Mail over to Gmail I get a zillion conversations. Woo hoo. And why would I want all my email on one provider---Google---that appears to be sucking wind at this very moment?

Let's face it Gmail has a lot of inertia to overcome. And Yahoo Mail isn't exactly standing still. Google has to make switching to Gmail easier if it has any hope of closing this gap. According to Hitwise, Yahoo Mail held more than 56 of the U.S. webmail market. MSN's email service had more than 19 percent. Gmail had almost 11 percent. 

Making it easier to import is a good start for Gmail. Next step will be delivering a leapfrog that will entice the average bear to drop all accounts for Gmail.