Since the introduction of Gmail video chat back in 2008, many of you have told us that you love the direct, personal communication it provides. That's why we're excited to announce that video chat is being upgraded to a more modern video calling technology -- Google+ Hangouts.
Unlike the old video chat, which was based on peer-to-peer technology, Hangouts utilize the power of Google’s network to deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality. You’ll be able to chat with all the same people you did before and, in fact, with Hangouts you’ll now be able to reach them not only when they are using Gmail but also if they are on Google+ in the browser or on their Android or iOS devices.
All Gmail users will benefit from this upgrade, but if you and the person you're chatting with also use Google+, you’ll get even more from the Hangouts experience. You'll be able to video chat with up to nine people at once, watch YouTube videos together, collaborate on Google documents and share your screen. Plus, Hangouts has a bunch of fun effects that you can try out...because any conversation is better when you're wearing a virtual mustache or pirate hat.
We’ll be rolling out Hangouts in Gmail starting today and then gradually over the coming weeks. We hope you enjoy hanging out with your friends and family. Arrrgh!
Gmail, the free e-mail service run by internet search giant Google, will change its name for new UK users.
Following a trademark dispute the mail account will be renamed Google Mail.
London-based Independent International Investment Research says it started using the Gmail name for a web-mail application two years before Google.
Current UK users of Google's service will be unaffected, but a separate trademark dispute forced Google to drop the Gmail name in Germany in May.
Talks between both companies broke down several months ago, after they failed to agree a financial settlement.
Gmail v Google Mail
Google's Gmail e-mail account is free, comes with just over 2.6 Gigabyte of storage space and allows users to view their e-mail with all messages on a single subject linked together.
We want to avoid any distraction to Google and to our users
Nigel Jones, Google
In return, users have to live with the fact that Google's search engine analyses their e-mail and places small context-driven internet links next to their mail, some of which are paid-for adverts.
The service, launched on 1 April 2004, is officially still in "beta", a technical term to describe the test phase of a product.
In most countries Gmail accounts are available on an invitation-only basis, although existing Gmail users have been offered as many as 100 invitations to distribute to friends and family.
From Wednesday morning, new users in the UK signing up with the Google service will be given an e-mail address that ends with "@googlemail.com".
German users with this address report that e-mail sent to their username but ending with "@gmail.com" instead of "@googlemail.com" will still arrive at its destination.
The dispute between Google and Independent International Investment Research (IIIR) centres on who owns the Gmail trademark.
The London-based research firm, with a £3.24m ($5.6m) stockmarket value, says it has used the name "Gmail" since 2002 to describe the mail function of its online information tool Pronet, mainly used by investors in currency derivatives.
Companies like Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Bank of America are among the British firm's clients.
After Google announced its Gmail plans in spring 2004, IIIR rushed to register the Gmail trademark with Ohim, the European Union's trademark office, and the US Patent and Trademark Office.
For our clients, Gmail is the most prominent function... it's a big green button that says 'Gmail'
Shane Smith, Independent International Investment Research
Google, with a stockmarket valuation of $54.4bn (£31.1bn), disputes the trademark claim. IIIR "has failed to provide evidence of its common law rights to the name", said Nigel Jones, Google's senior European counsel.
But to "avoid any distraction to Google and our users", the company would switch to the Googlemail brand in the UK while the dispute was being resolved at the various trademark offices.
The case could still go to court, though. IIIR's chairman and chief executive Shane Smith told BBC News that Google broke off negotiations "unilaterally", and that his company was now investigating its legal options.
"For our clients, Gmail is the most prominent function of the Pronet tool, it's a big green button that says 'Gmail'," said Mr Smith.
Google's rival Gmail service had created confusion and uncertainty amid potential clients of his firm, said Mr Smith.
In Germany, Google is already in the courts over the Gmail name. On 13 September the US search firm lost an appeal against a court injunction that stops Google from using the Gmail brand in Germany.
There a Hamburg-based company had registered the term "G-Mail" five years ago, to advertise what it describes as a "hybrid mail service", bridging the gap between electronic and hardcopy mail.
Mike Lynd, partner at patent and trademark attorneys Marks & Clerk, predicted that "as a result of inadequate IP searching and protection" Google now had "a real battle on its hands in gaining the Gmail trade mark within the European Union".
The breakdown of negotiations between Google and IIIR ultimately comes down to money and a disagreement about the value of the Gmail trademark.
IIIR boss Shane Smith points to an independent valuation of the brand, compiled in December 2004 by Valuation Consulting Limited, which suggests a value of between $48m and $64m, although he says his company would have settled for much less.
Google's Nigel Jones, however, says IIIR demanded an "exorbitant sum" in exchange for dropping its claim on the Gmail trademark.
Both sides are cagey about how much was at stake, but BBC News understands that a settlement worth millions of dollars had been discussed.
For now, though, Google will not be able to promote one of its most high-profile brands in two of Europe's largest economies.
Mr Lynd said Google might want to "cut their losses now and... look at re-branding to Google Mail within the whole of Europe".
Our team has been working hard to bring your most-requested features to the Gmail app for iOS. Today, we’re excited to add three new improvements to that list of updates: full notification center support, the ability to send messages from your alternate email addresses and an improved login experience.
First up, Gmail is now fully integrated with Notification Center and supports banners, alerts and lock screen options. Plus, notifications are now incredibly fast -- up to 5x faster than in the previous version.
We’ll continue to improve the app, and we’re looking forward to bringing you more features in future releases, including support for multiple accounts.
As a German working on the Gmail team, my friends and family back home often ask why they have a @googlemail address instead of @gmail.com. Today, I’m happy to announce that is no longer the case: Google Mail is becoming Gmail in Germany. To celebrate, we’ve created a video that explains what it’s like to Go Google in German:
All new accounts will receive an @gmail.com address and if you have an existing @googlemail.com address, you'll soon be able to switch to @gmail.com. Once you make the change, you will still receive mail sent to your @googlemail.com address and all of your emails, contacts, and account settings will stay exactly the same. Plus, you can switch back at any time if you change your mind.
For more details, check out our FAQ. If you're ready to make the change, over the next few weeks, a link will appear at the top when you login over the coming weeks.
Themes have been an important part of Gmail ever since we launched them back in 2008. Not only do they let you personalize your inbox with fun backgrounds, but they’re also practical, helping you easily differentiate between multiple Gmail inboxes (e.g. work and personal).
When we unveiled Gmail’s new look back in November, we introduced a number of new, beautiful HD themes. We also heard that many of you wanted to bring an even more personal touch by setting your own background. So over the next couple of days we are rolling out a new Custom themes section with two options, Light and Dark where you can do just that. Watch the video to see some examples:
You can upload your own images directly, select from your Google+ photos or simply paste any image URL. Or, if you don't have a particular image in mind, you can browse our searchable Featured Photos section to find one that speaks to you. With so many great options, it may be hard to choose, so to get a sense of the images available, try searching for ‘hdr scenery’ or ‘bokeh wallpaper' in the Featured tab.
Whether you want to bask on a tropical island or simply reminisce about last year’s holiday with the family, your Gmail can now be customized to your mood. Find your perfect image and make your Gmail your own with custom themes.