Gmail becoming a monopoly?

I read a rather sensational post this morning.  Not sensational in the good way, either.  Let me explain – sensational can mean “arousing or intended to arouse strong curiosity, interest, or reaction, especially by exaggerated or lurid details” (answers.com).  The author essentially proposed that Gmail could become the de facto standard for business email.  He cites several examples of organizations (incidentally, both colleges, not businesses) that are intending to use Gmail’s business email program for their student email.

This is a great example of how cloud computing can be useful.  I’ve been a Gmail user for about four years, and I like it.  That said, I don’t use their Web client except on rare occasions.  I dislike web clients.  But with the business class service, as well as with the personal email, users can access Gmail via either POP3 or IMAP.  No Web client required.  

I can see this as a viable solution for colleges and small businesses, but frankly, I don’t see this as an enterprise solution unless Gmail 1) guarantees uptime and 2) provides personalized, 24-7 enterprise support solutions.  Their support, from what I understand, is pathetic at present.  However, I think it could work for small businesses.  Google does have a good reputation as a progressive and professional company (unlike another prominent hosting company, whose salacious Super Bowl advertising became an instant bar from use in my business).

So back to the point.  Great idea? Yep.  But did this author stretch the truth?  Yes.  However, there’s still an important point in there – if you’re running a small business and need business email services (your own domain name and hosted email services with high uptime) it’s definitely worth considering.  Honestly, I’d consider going that route for a small business, even though I’m capable of hosting my own email server.  The price point is great too ($50 per user per year).

Bottom line: it’s not going to take over the world, but it’s a great idea for a smaller business who needs professional email services from a reputable company.

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One Comment on “Gmail becoming a monopoly?”

  1. mrosedale Says:

    Funny you mention how you don’t use the web client. I read another article the other day about how the desktop client is dead. Personally I love gmail’s web interface. So much that for personal email I am all web only. But it has always been my work email that requires a desktop client (still does). Outlook web access is horrible. Currently my company uses Zimbra which tries, but fails. When gmail created keyboard shortcuts they won me over right there. With a few clicks of the keyboard they accomplished everything that was lacking in a web client.

    Anyway the U of I has been musing over this very point for a while now. They haven’t switched yet, but the deal was pretty good. The cost of exchange is astronomical so for students it simply doesn’t make sense, but even the cost of hardware and people to support the protocol isn’t cost effective. Not to mention that the student service gave a measly 100mb of space for email. So what most students did was forward their email to their gmail accounts. I can’t tell you how many @gmail.com emails I got from students. The thought was that we could throw away all of those servers and save ourselves a lot of headaches if we just moved to gmail which is what most of the students had already done.

    I’ll tell you this the deal is pretty good. Gmail has a special division that works with you and each contract is unique. So I think Arizona or A st. signed a deal with Google. Their contract would look different from ours. The deal was while the student was a student they wouldn’t receive any adverts…after graduation they could keep the address but would start getting adverts. This was also helpful because now we aren’t hosting email or storage of email and don’t have to worry about maintaining an address or alias for years to come. Honestly I think they should have just jumped and started using it (oh and we also looked at windows live or whatever).

    Now for faculty they really weren’t thinking about switching them. The main reason was control. They liked having the email server onsite and in their control. The other reasons were that it was a good service already implemented and we had the money to pay for it. I ran an open source solution for a research group, but I think google does a better job. I am mixed. I don’t see any reason why not to use gmail except for control.


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