Hi, I'm Adam. Email me about: CTOs, Mobile/iOS, Project Management, and Development

“but Gmail said I don’t have to do anything”

(Google just made a major change to Gmail accounts in the UK, now that they’ve settled a trademark case brought against them. This is great – it will simplify mailing list management for a lot of people, and everyone in the world can (legally) be “@gmail.com”)

However … I’ve now had two friends write the above (“it said I didn’t have to do anything”) when asking for help with the changeover. Hmm. When the message came up for me first time, I got that impression too, but looking at it more closely, it doesn’t explicitly say that:

gmail changeover screenshot instructions

Anway, two friends in quick succession is a suggestion that I’m going to have to answer this question a few times. Instead, from now on I’ll just send them a link to this blog post :). Copy/paste of my original response:

Sorry, Google’s instructions aren’t very clear. You need to click the “more info/FAQ” link to get the “true” instructions, which include this gem:

“Mailing Lists: If you have signed up to send mail to mailing lists on behalf of your @googlemail.com address, you might need to re-register for the group using your @gmail.com address. Google Groups will automatically accept your new address.”

…although Google is being disingenuous when they say “might need to” – they know that *most* mailing lists will require you to manually change address, re-signup, or ask the admins to change your address :).

I like the visual approach that Google took here – the page is simple, clearly formatted, etc – but it’s tragic that it fails to include the critical information. “Breaking every mailing list you are on” should not be relegated to “Have questions? Not sure you want to switch?” – it should be right there on the main screen with a big red warning sign. I’m intrigued as to how the page was designed: it’s hard to believe that the usability people missed something as obvious as this. Are mailing lists not used that much by Gmail users? Even harder to believe. Have mailing lists fixed the gmail/googlemail problem? Possibly, but none of the ones I administer have (mostly for orgs that are using mainstream “free” list managers).

2 thoughts on ““but Gmail said I don’t have to do anything””

Comments are closed.