Thursday, December 8, 2011

Must I change my email address from Google Mail to Gmail? l

Must I change my email address from Google Mail to Gmail?

Q I use the Google Mail service for email. Some time back, everything on the website seemed to change to a very small font – with letters just a millimetre or so high.

At 82 years of age I find it difficult to read, even with my glasses on. I can find no options on the website to enlarge the font. Is there something I am overlooking and would it be the same if I took up the offer to switch from Google Mail to Gmail?
Geoff Wilkins

A We’ll deal with your question about switching from Google Mail to Gmail first, just to clear up any confusion about the difference between the two – which is to say, practically none. But to understand why, it’s useful to know a little about Gmail’s history.

Google debuted its webmail service in April 2004, calling it Gmail. However, the Google Mail name came about as a result of a trademark dispute between Google and various organisations around the world that claimed prior rights to the ‘Gmail’ name.

From 2005 in the UK, this resulted in newcomers to the Gmail service being issued with email addresses ending in ‘’ rather than ‘’.

As noted, this made little practical difference as Google continued parsing and delivering emails sent to either variation of the address (so messages to youremailaddress or would end up in the same inbox.

However, messages sent during those four years would have appeared to have come from ‘’ addresses. This situation persisted until just a couple of years ago, when the service’s official name reverted to Gmail.

Since then, all new sign-ups to the UK version of the webmail service have been issued with an ‘’ email address.

Regardless, this means many millions of people registered for accounts during the Google Mail years – and plenty of those users are still sending messages that appear to recipients as being from an ‘’ email address.

As one of them, when signing in to Gmail, you will see a message that reads: “Google Mail is becoming Gmail in the UK. Want to switch to []?” along with a “Maybe! Tell me more…” link. Click this link and an explanation and instructions will be displayed.

Alternatively, click the cog icon at the top right of the Gmail window, choose Mail settings and click the Accounts and Imports tab. Now click the ‘Switch to’ alongside the ‘Send mail as’ heading and follow the prompts to make the change.

Note that messages sent to both and will continue to be delivered to your inbox, but from now on, messages you send will appear to the recipient as having originated from ‘’.

So, while accepting the offer to switch makes sense – it’s simply easier to say or type ‘Gmail’ – it will not resolve your problem of tiny fonts.

For that, the answer is to hold down the Control (Ctrl) key and tap 0 (that’s the zero key). This will restore the browser’s default zoom level, which we believe has been reduced inadvertently – typically with a twist of the mouse’s scroll wheel (try holding down Control while spinning the wheel to see what we mean).

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