Up until very recently, Google has been unable to register its ‘@gmail’ extension in Germany, and users were forced to type @googlemail.com when sending a message, all because the ‘G-mail’ name had been copyrighted in that country, long before Google likely even conceived of its webmail service. Though, it’s been reported that Google was able to finally settle with the German ‘gmail’ owner, and the ‘gmail.de’ domain and the Gmail trademark were transferred to the web search giant on April 13, according to GoogleWatchBlog.
Hamburg entrepreneur Daniel Giersch had registered the ‘G-mail’ name (short for Giersch mail) for his snail and email service in Germany in 2000, and has ever since been successful in barring Google from using the trademark in that country. The parties were apparently able to come to a settlement, though no word on the details, including how much Google paid Giersch. While ‘gmail.de’ is still down, it’s been reported that Google mail users in Germany are now able to access @gmail.com and @googlemail.com interchangeably.
While Google has yet to bring ‘gmail.de’ online, the company quickly switched over after a similar situation that occurred in the UK. Due to a copyright issue, users in that country had to type the same @googlemail.com address. Interestingly, Google Software Engineer Greg Bullock pointed out some of the logistics regarding a shorter email 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!” Who knew?