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Gmail's Fickle Open House

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February 15, 2007 – Comments (0)

Article on Fool.com: http://www.f...n-house.aspx

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Okay, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), make up your mind. Last week, rumors flew that Gmail was finally open to all, which apparently wasn't the case ... but it is now. In retrospect, one might wonder if the company mistakenly pre-announced a Gmail without invites; maybe it wanted to wait to share the love on Valentine's Day, but the false alarm a week earlier might make some people wonder.

Internet reports last week implied Google's opening of Gmail was a done deal, some citing the same language that appears on Gmail's help page today. When I contacted Google's PR department last week because I couldn't find the message those sites had quoted, I was told Gmail's invitation-only status still stood. A mistake or a leak? I'm really not sure.

I covered my thoughts on Gmail's long, invitation-only beta then -- and why I thought it would be a good idea for Google to finally open up Gmail if it wants to really gain some ground against competitors Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) and Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Hotmail.

Such confusion makes this Fool wonder if Google's getting sloppy. Last March, Google accidentally let loose financial projections and details of an unlimited online storage product it planned, dubbed GDrive; it's a different situation but perhaps similarly disturbing. Is Google getting too big, too fast, with too many initiatives flying around, and some communications falling through the cracks within the company? Maybe investors should wonder if Google needs to organize the information inside its own halls.

Yahoo! is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.

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