June 11, 2004
I honestly don’t get all the buzz about Gmail, Google’s new email service. I took a look at it today to see what the the big deal was.
It’s got a few features which are marginally better than other webmail services, but not too many and not massively better. The free storage is not a big issue for most users, although it may cause a few power users to switch over. The most interesting feature in my mind is the ability to use Google Search on your own email file, which is very useful.
All in all, it’s a good product, but all these people talking about how 30mm people are going to switch over to it must be seeing something I don’t. My prediction (and I’ll happily and publicly acknowledge defeat if I am misreading this) is that they will get a few million new users initially, many for a second or third address as opposed to their primary address, and that many of them won’t stick with it to become active users over a longer period of time. After that, they’ll grow at the same rate, with the same type of characteristics, as Yahoo, Hotmail, and other webmail providers.
Email and email addresses, unlike search engines, are pretty sticky things.