It has been a day of coming and going at Google, it seems. Saying hello, again, was Gmail in the UK while Google Docs offline access through Google Gears has waved goodbye.
You might think that Gmail had never left the UK, but the truth is that apart from a few thousand of us who got our webmail accounts running early enough UK users have been stuck with the longer googlemail.com domain. This came about following a legal dispute over usage of gmail.com which meant that from October 19, 2005 all new users had to have @googlemail.com addresses only. One has to assume that Google has reached a settlement with Independent International Investment Research which claimed the Gmail trademark previously, and which Google referred to as being exorbitant back in 2005.
Google software engineer Greg Bullock [URL="http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/google-mail-is-becoming-gmail-in-uk.html"]said in a statement[/URL] "if you already have a Google email account in the UK, you'll soon have the option to switch your existing @googlemail.com address to the matching @gmail.com one, but you're also free to stick with @googlemail.com. And starting later this week, anybody who signs up for a new account in the UK will get an @gmail.com address. Since "gmail" is 50% fewer characters than "googlemail," we estimate this name change will save approximately 60 million keystrokes a day. At about 217 microjoules per keystroke, that's about the energy of 20 bonbons saved every day!"
Meanwhile, as of today Google has suspended Google Docs offline access through Google Gears. "We know this is an important feature for some of you, and we're working hard to bring a new and improved option for offline access" [URL="http://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=92249"]Google says[/URL], but does not say what or when. All we know is that Google is [URL="http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2010/05/04/google_docs_offline_gone/?"]apparently developing an HTML5 powered replacement[/URL], is of little comfort to those users who can no longer access their documents and spreadsheets offline.