First off, this isn’t an April Fools Day post, I was going to do something but was having trouble with the code, so I’ll do something sometime next week. I subscribe to the Jimmy James theory that if you do your April Fools thing on April 1st, people will be expecting it.
So Google is launching Gmail, a free email service with 1 gigabyte of storage, spam protection, and the ability to Google your email. There’s plenty more information available, and I suggest you read it. It sounds like a pretty cool idea, but their business plan is a little creepy. They plan to use AdSense to display ads relevant to the email you’re reading in the interface. The only way that could be weirder is if they attached relevant text ads to your outgoing mail. I think only Google and Apple have enough trust in their brands to be able to pull this off.
The “Googling your inbox” stuff sounds really cool, but I shy away from big centralized hosted services. Even though they say Your email should never be held hostage by a service provider I’m still leery. Instead, I’ll probably start using something like ZOË.
ZOË bills itself as Googling Your Email, which I suspect will be changing very soon. It uses POP or IMAP to download your email from your server, then it indexes everything for searching. It’s written in Java and uses a browser interface for searching, so it runs on damn near everything. You probably want to see the screenshots by now. It does everything the Google service does (except for having the gig of storage) and it’s up and running now.
Jon Udell has a great overview of ZOË over at O’Reilly

3 responses to “Gmail and ZÖE”

  1. Do you think “Googling Your Email” will have to change due to a trademark issue? Reading this made me ponder the effect of ‘google’ enterring the common lexicon.
    If a word is common enough to be in a well established dictionary, can you use it anywhere? If you can, does this put unwarrented trademark control in the hands of dictionary publishers (or to extend the relation further, control in the mouths of the public–as they use the word commonly).
    I wouldn’t be at all suprized if ZÖE changed the tagline at the first request, though.

  2. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’ll change as soon as Google’s lawyers get a look at it. Most people think that lawyers have to track down every use of a trademark, although Cory says it ain’t so. Me, I got my law degree from Slashdot and Law & Order, so I’m definitely qualified to give IP and criminal legal advice.

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