Well, I don’t have a Gmail account. Unless they change one or two important details, I don’t really want one either – I’m with Steve on this one. Gmail sounds really interesting, but I pay good money to have all my email coming from gravitystorm.co.uk – and I’ve found in the past that having more than one email address, even if they all end up in the same place, just leads to people getting confused and constantly enquiring as to which email address they should use. If I could use Gmail silently, that is, with all my emails transparently appearing to come from and go to gravitystorm.co.uk, then I’d give it a go. Reply-to just doesn’t cut it.
Maybe it’ll be possible in the future, since what’s going on with Gmail is a slightly interesting attempt at guerilla marketing, and not being able to change the From address is surely part of the tactics. They announced the service, being much better than anything currently on offer, with a small catch – you couldn’t use it. There was a closed list of beta testers, and that was it. But cunningly, the beta testers were, occaisionally, allowed to invite a small number of people to join the list of testers. When word got around about these ‘invites’, they became valuable – everyone wanted one, and more importantly, everyone wanted to be given one. There was a lot of cred in having a Gmail account, since that showed that you knew someone important enough to have them to hand out. So I think there were a few people who might have tried it out, but definitely went for it when they were Invited.
But Google seems to be ramping up the number of users, and I don’t think the invite system has much more life in it. In my little group of friends, Adam was the source of it all, and still seems able to get rid of his invites. But Steve, Gary, Ed, Mike and Steve King have all had invites available over the last few days. It’s not just in my little sphere of influence either- Asa Dotzler and Pavlov are using contests to give theirs away. I reckon within the next week or so, the number of outstanding Gmail invites will be huge, and unless Google has a cunning plan up their sleeves (and, be honest, that’s fairly likely), there won’t be much point in not opening it up to the public. Except for loosing the guerrilla promotion they’ve been getting over the whole thing.
Which I’m only adding to!