September 4, 2012
Gmail Needs More Usernames
Anyone signing up for a new Gmail account is likely to get frustrated when trying to create a username. Unless you have an obscure name or get creative with initials, it is virtually impossible to get [email protected] Gmail now has over 350 million users.
I have been pretty successful at nabbing “derekwalter” for some accounts like Twitter, but someone else beat me to it with Gmail (well played, sir.)
Clearly I’m not alone. When Microsoft launched its well-received Outlook.com webmail service, it registered one million accounts in 24 hours and 10 million in one week. New users took to forums to gloat over finally having that email address they craved without numbers, symbols, or other iterations.
The new domain highlights one of the few advantages that Hotmail and Yahoo! offer over Gmail – a greater chance of grabbing a preferred username thanks to the availability of multiple domain names. If you sign up for a new Microsoft account today you can choose @outlook.com, @live.com or @hotmail.com. Yahoo! also offers @yahoo.com, @ymail.com or @rocketmail.com.
Gmail users are stuck with one option: @gmail.com. This has its advantages; Gmail is so ubiquitous that giving out your address is instantly recognizable. Yet as usernames become even more difficult to obtain, a secondary set of domain names would certainly help out.
Google has plenty of options for doing this, which could be used to promote some of its products. An @android.com address would be cool and popular with the Android fanboy crowd. Google continues to try and push Google+ integration, so perhaps offer an @googleplus option. Or possibly @googledrive, the name of its upgrade to Google Docs.
Until something like this happens (if ever) what does one who is trying to secure a professional-sounding email address, and wants to use Gmail, do? There are a few options, depending how much legwork you want to put into it.
Tech savvy users can get a Google account with the full suite of apps to work with their own domain. For example, if you purchase yourdomain.com, you can create your own set of e-mail addresses that run inside of Gmail. As long as you stay under 10 user accounts, it is completely free. Now you sound awesome with [email protected] and link that account to any number of Google services. If you are an Android user, this alternative will keep your life well in sync.
If this is too technical for you, consider another option: use Gmail to run your new, snazzy Outlook.com or other address. This is especially a good idea if you are using Android, as the stock email client on Android for accessing other accounts is not that great (you can download Microsoft’s official Hotmail app, though it is in need of a visual overhaul). If, however, you are committed to using Outlook.com with Android, below is the specific server information to get it working properly with Microsoft Exchange:
Or go the other direction. Use Outlook.com as the main hub for Gmail or other email accounts. The new Outlook email is excellent and easy on the eyes. While it may not change the minds of Gmail power users, it has some innovative features like Sweep that will meet the needs of most. It plays well with the iOS mail app, syncing up mail, contacts and calendar items.
These options may be useful for anyone tinkering with how best to manage e-mail. Hopefully Google will see that its Gmail success means it is time to branch out with username flexibility.
Image Credit: Google