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September 14, 2006

There's More Than One Gmail

Although everyone knows Google's mail service as Gmail, Google lost the right to use this name in Germany and UK last year.

Daniel Giersch has a service called G-mail and he owns the trademark in Germany. His mail system works in a very strange way: "A sender's document is scanned into Giersch's system at its origin, transmitted electronically to a G-mail office in the destination city, printed out at the other end and hand-delivered to its recipient. Giersch also offers users a "secure" address, which they can obtain only by verifying their identities with a passport or other official ID card," reports CNet. Giersch plans to sue Google and defend the registrations of the trademark in Switzerland, Norway and Monaco.

In the UK, Gmail is the private mail service for the customers of the Contensis Content Management System. G-mail has also been used by a research firm Independent International Investment Research (IIIR) for its Web-based e-mail product since May 2002. Google ended the trademark dispute with IIIR in October last year and since then every user from UK has a mail address.

Gmail was also the name of a "sql based vfolder email system", now defunct. Some of its features included:

* Uses a Mysql database as the datastore. This makes gmail very fast for large volumes of email (eg: more than 20,000 messages).

* Up to 255 vfolder views of the mail store. This is the main feature, the idea is that you keep all your mail in one big folder and approach it from different views (querys). It is a powerful way of approaching email management.

* The vfolder filtering is done via SQL filtering. There is sufficient online help to make writing vfolders easy.

* 'matching' facility where messages that don't get caught by your custom vfolders are put into an 'Inbox' vfolder. A caching mechanism based on this 'matched index' also gives fast speeds. Gmail is very fast for super huge mailing lists. You can now subscribe to linux-kernel and not have your mail client slow down!


  1. Does "Google lost the right" mean Google actually tried to forcefully take the right from the original owners? If so, that's the final blow to my faith in "don't be evil".

  2. A court ordered Google to change the name of its Gmail product in Germany, after Google was sued by the owner of

  3. And what is the new gmail's name in Germany?

  4. Google should just shell out a few millions to buy the name back. It's not like they don't have the money you know :)

  5. Gmail's name in Germany and UK is Google Mail. More about that here.

  6. I'm ok with "googlemail" in that when giving my email address I often have to say "G as in Google- Mail"...saying "googlemail" might be easier.

    MK (USA user)

  7. Its funny how Google expected they would win against copyright laws in Germany and UK, thinking their power may overcome law. Thats if they even researched the name Gmail before releasing it...

  8. ... Forgot to mention, Im an english user, although i have :O Im breaking the law.

  9. Its funny how many people care whats happening with a small company in Germany and being suprised. With large multinaitonals now I think that you just have to choose a name and make sure its valid in your country and go with it. If you took the time to look through every company name and trademark in every country you'd never do anything. I'm going to guess that their arguement is Germany was that gmail is not the same as g-mail and I've got to agree, they are different. I don't actually see why they lost unless a judge ruled that hyphens are imaginary and without meaning. Anyway, I wouldn't imagine that its a bid deal for people in a couple of countries to use instead.


  10. there's a too, iirc (there was one last year)

  11. It's important to know that while Google had to 'officailly' change the name in these countries, that doesn't change anything. The internet is not subject to the same laws as companies are. If you send me an email at singpolyma [at] or singpolyma [at] I will get either. All, etc, addresses work as addresses too (duh). And if in these countries you type, it will take you to (or stay on gmail, depending on how good the WHOIS is on your IP). So anyone in any country can give out as their address (it's shorter) and type to check their email (again, shorter). We can essentially ignore the existance of the second domain, it's only there for legal purposes.

  12. i don't see why it matters... gmail is the domain name... simply works the same way any other e-mail would. As far as im concerned, google has the domain "" so it's theirs as far as the internet goes.


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