I wasn't surprised to read the news that Virgin Media is going to be relying on Google Mail in future for its email services.
The partnership will see Virgin's four million home broadband customers offered enhanced email services based on the Google infrastructure. These will include 7GB of storage, advanced mail search, email updates via mobiles and up to 10 @virginmedia.com addresses.
Current customers will be able to keep their existing @blueyonder.co.uk, @ntlworld.com or @virgin.net addresses if they prefer, but will be migrated across to the new Google service anyway. The first 20,000 new customers to sign up to the program will get to try out the new email service from today, with a full rollout to other new customers shortly after, Virgin said.
So why wasn't I surprised about this partnership? Well, a certain rather demanding family member of mine has been a Virgin ISP and email customer for many years, a fact which has led to numerous heated phone calls to me due to their email and/or internet service going down yet again, and Virgin customer services yet again proving of no or very little help.
Virgin's efforts as an email provider didn't really seem to be working or get taken very seriously by the firm itself, so it certainly makes sense to partner with a company such as Google, which has clearly grasped the concept much better.
But I'm also relieved that after many months of effort, said relation has finally been persuaded to switch over to using a Gmail account rather than their old virgin.net address. Despite the recent outages with Google's own mail service highlighting this isn't a completely failsafe option, I've had a few weeks of peace with no angry calls about the email being down again - and now I don't have to worry about any further complications arising from this new Virgin email package.
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