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Google Timewasting and deadends! 2006/07/22

Posted by Dave in Reviews.

What is it with Google? Why is it we can NEVER find what we want when we use it? When we use a metasearch engine we get somewhere. We WANT to use google like everyone else, but it just ain’t working for us. Here’s the latest saga…

We only wanted a gmail account… but what a run around!

First we went to the google.com website –Hmmm, nothing obvious on the page… so we tried clicking on “Preferences” — but nothing there. So back to the main google page again…

There’s a sort of menu bar “Web Images Groups News Froogle Maps more >> ” — so we clicked on “more >>” –Under the heading “Communicate, show & share” we found “Gmail“. Great! But…

Sure, you can access your Gmail account using the sign in, but there’s nothing about signing up for a new account!

Well, it looks like we will have to search — so back to the main Google search engine page, and we search for “sign up for a new gmail account” and get a results page. We click on the top result “About Gmail” — which takes us to About Gmail page, and we click on the FAQ top menu… the page scrolls and we click on FAQ number 2 How do I sign up? and the page scrolls again to the entry:

2. How do I sign up?

You can get a Gmail account if you’re invited by someone who already has one. Or, you can sign up for an account using your mobile phone.

Well as we do not know anyone who has a Gmail account, we cannot do that… luckily we have several pay as you go mobile cell phone numbers. Great!, so we click on the “sign up for an account using your mobile phone” link and get the sign up sms page. It states:

To sign up, enter your mobile phone number below. We’ll send you a text message with an invitation code to create your account.’

The drop down menu only offers Australia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States — no UK option!

What now? Maybe it is not available in the UK… but there’s no mention of France or Germany either. This is weird. We scroll right down, and at the bottom of the page in the Frequently Asked Questions section, there is an entry “When will this work in more locations? ” So we click on that, and get the page in a new window:

‘When will SMS sign-ups be available in more locations?
Check out the list of locations where SMS sign-ups are available. To receive an invitation code, you’ll need a mobile phone number that’s registered in one of the following locations, and a phone that can receive text messages. We’re working hard to add more countries and territories, so if you don’t see your location on the list, check back soon!

* Australia
* Indonesia
* Malaysia
* New Zealand
* The Phillipines
* Singapore
* Thailand
* Turkey
* United States

Note: We’re excited to offer SMS sign-ups in a number of locations, but we only offer support in US English.’

So there’s no google mail for Europe, Africa etc — but something doesn’t seem right… we’re sure that we’ve heard of people with Google accounts in Europe — and more to the point, we’re sure we would have heard if Europe was excluded. So we thought we should go to the Google UK page, then click on “more>>“.

However, unlike the main Google site’s “more>>” page, the UK one has no mention of Gmail whatsoever! Hmm. So it’s NOT available for us Brits — wow!

Intrigued, we decided to find out if there are plans for it to become available. So we did a google search of “gmail in the uk” and the top result was “BBC NEWS | Business | Google drops Gmail address in UK“, so we clicked on that.

‘Gmail, the free e-mail service run by internet search giant Google, will change its name for new UK users. Following a trademark dispute the mail account will be renamed Google Mail.’.

UK users?? Huh? Reading more, we find out that the UK and Germany cannot use gmail, but have to use googlemail — but how?

So back to google’s uk site… we do a search for “googlemail” (instead of “gmail”), and we get a result “Google Mail in the UK” — which takes us to http://mail.google.com/mail/help/intl/en-GB/googlemail.html

1 Do I need to do anything?
No. Although the name is changing, your email service remains the same. To sign in, you can go to the same page as before, or you can now also visit: http://mail.google.com/mail.

2 When will you start offering @googlemail.com addresses? When will this change take place?
Starting October 19, 2005, the Gmail service will be renamed Google Mail in the UK. We will no longer issue new @gmail.com addresses. All new addresses will be @googlemail.com addresses.

We could not see any links for account sign ups — and every link we tried took us back to the Gmail intro page (even googlemail ones).

It’s all dead-ends!

It seems that some people might have a gmail/ googlemail account, but we reckon that now you can only get an account in the UK if you are invited by someone who already has one — you cannot sign up with a mobile cellphone account in the UK.


What a waste of an hour! It all merely annoyed and frustrated — we decided to blog this in the vain hope that others trying to sign up for gmail in the UK will see that they are not alone, or maybe even stop them wasting their time!




1. Liz - 2006/08/17

I found this only after taking the same journey …. I am a big fan of Google so I don’t understand why they are leading us on such a merry dance. I shall make a point of NOT getting a googlemail account – on principle !!

2. JimC - 2006/08/31

What you’ve typed on your blog is an exact description of what I have just been pi$$ing around on. After going round in circles for an hour, I’ve now found I can’t sign up, grrrrrr!!!!!! DARN GOOGLE!!!! :(
As you say, wished they’d put it on the front page or something.


3. Anthony - 2006/09/03

Do you still need an invite to gmail????

4. Richard Johnson - 2006/09/06

Damn. Found your rant, after 30 minutes going around just the same circuit. How well you describe it. Maybe Google should hire your services.

Seems that google’s meta-whatever-it-is still isn’t tuning into your blog….

5. John - 2006/09/08

Yes it stinks. I’ve been the same route. Thankfully I know an Americaaaaaan from playing online games and I hope he’s gonna let me in. …What a mess!

Yahoo mail is not that bad by the way if you want an Alt. The main problem I have is that their free POP connectors work better in the existing client than in the new Y!Mail beta, so I can’t go to that beta or really recommend it to anyone else with multiple accounts.

While its all in flux its probably worth keeping an eye on this:

6. Craig Nixon - 2006/11/03

What a Saga, the ironic thing is that if you search for “googlemail uk” the sponsord links give Yahoomail smart move gogs you’ve tied yourself up in knots and lost my custom in one move.

7. Emma Mattinson - 2007/01/14

Just been through the same thing, followed your path and ended up here. Feeling very cross with google as they still have not sorted the problem out. Can anyone send me an invite please?

8. Elias - 2007/02/24

I am sorry to say that i have gone on the same Google merry go round and stumbled on your comprehensive rantings by chance. Any chance some one with a Gmail account could invite us all in.

9. rtone - 2007/02/26

Martins Money Saving Expert now has a link to Gmail, everyone can get a Gmail account now! Hurrah


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