back to article Virgin Media switches to Gmail

Virgin Media will today begin moves to transfer its almost four million broadband subscribers to Google's email service. The three existing in-house email platforms will be gradually decommissioned. At first only new customers will be invited to join the new outsourced service. Once 20,000 are signed up and the system is …

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Flame

Snoopy

Wonder how all this will fit in with our nosey government?

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Paris Hilton

Customer retention?

I know four much better strategies:

1. Tell Phorm to phuck off

2. Actually let customers use the bandwidth they pay for.

3. Stop being anti net neutrality idiots.

4. Stop being the 'music' industry's bitch.

Vermin Media deserve every customer they lose.

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This really sucks.

What the heck is this about? The whole point of me choosing to use locally stored email services instead of web based ones has always been that I don't want anything to do with advertisers skimming my content to launch adds at me. Wasn't advertising the main reason behind the creation of Gmail?

I realize that I may be missing something with this but i really am not happy about this at all. Will this mean that i will have no access to my stored emails unless I'm connected? i know my broadband is always on but i have always been responsible for my contact lists, stored attachments and inbox space. i really don't see how handing all of this over to the Umbrella Corporation will improve things.

Someone please tell me i have the wrong end of the stick.

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usual Ntl bollox

Amazing, yet again I find out wtf Ntl are doing with my account from 'anyone but ntl' :(

The company that won't give me write permission to my own webspace and aren't interested in fixing it, couldn't give me a working login to their extra's package and weren't interested in even investigating and cant configure a transparent proxy to save their lives are trying another bold experiment in passing the buck.

On the plus side, I've not been able to access webmail for months (can you guess if they're interested in fixing that?) and been unable to create or change mailboxes for most of the last 5 years - this move will struggle to make things worse!

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VM....

You had to mention Virgin Media.

try 4 months with a 20mb "mother of all broadband" which i get 1mb if i am very lucky.

25 engineer visits.

15 miles of cable replaced in every conceivable place. Google mail - i can get that for free without Virgin Media.

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@Blasmeme

You'll still have POP (and IMAP if you prefer) access to your email so you can download it locally and work the same as present... but you'll also have the rather good Gmail system too....

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Anonymous Coward

@blasmeme

i think because they offer pop and imap you will get the same as though you had locally stored email or used webmail.ntlworld.com

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Happy

Re: Blasmeme

Slightly the wrong end of the stick although (IMHO) there is still cause for concern.

Firstly, you will till have access to your current mail when disconnected as long as you are using a proper email client, not just connecting through a web interface (and even that is possible nowadays). Same goes for contacts, tasks etc. etc. If you, for example, use Outlook for your email everything will look the same. The only thing that will change is the location/address of the IMAP or POP3 server.

Where your concerns may be justified is in google skimming your mail. I would assume Virgin is basically using a variant on the enterprise hosting model google is promoting. You would need to check the T's and C's to see how much ownership (if any) Google has of your data. Theoretically, they are just holding your data and providing the services for you to access it on behalf of Virgin. In practice, who knows?

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Flame

Price reduction?

Surely as they are not going to be running their own email servers any more and are moving the email accounts to a BETA service then we should have an appropriate reduction in our monthly costs.

Cant see that happening though.

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Gmail

I can't see why they'd be that much difference, you can use Gmail locally too.

Now that they've outsourced their news services and a photo printing service and an offsite storage service, I wonder what else they don't want to do themselves.

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@Blasmeme

It probably still sucks in some way but, as far as I know, you can set up your local e-mail shiftyware to point to gmails pop and smtp servers, pop.gmail.com and smtp.gmail.com (?), then visit the web interfarce to tick boxes telling it not to maintain local copies.

You end up with something that behaves like what you have got at the moment. Local storage and maintenance. Sure looks like hard work but it is dooable so.... maybe you do have hold of the wrong end of the stick.

I'm sure Virgin will sort stuff for you....???

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Ah that was sneaky!

I like the "out of the box" thinking (damn I hate management cra@p expressions like that...) of Virgin Media of how to get round and make as low cost as possible of the new EU regulation to store everyones emails for 12 months! Get someone else to do it. Clever... but I wonder how Gmail will play ball with that one (dammit another rubbish saying!)

At least they did choose a half decent platform, I personally like Gmail (but of course many dont).

So now all VirgMed need to do is store ip versus website calls and they're done.

Sneaky, but clever, you cant deny that!

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@blasmeme

The POP3 access means you can downlaod all the email to your own computer. You also get the benefit of a good webmail service too

I don't get why anybody would use an email address from an ISP. Much easier to use a gmail/yahoo/hotmail as when you change ISP you don't have to change your email as well. Using an ISP's email service is a bit like getting all your post via the estate agent you bought/rent your house from...

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Useless 'tards

I stopped using virgin email months ago because emails sent to my address either never arrived, or arrived days later. When I told them about it, and included copies of the bouncing emails (with error messages such as SMTP server unavailable/ too many connections) they kept fobbing me off with scripts about how to install Outlook Express. Moved over to inbox.com (cos I dodn't want anything to do with GMail) and haven't looked back since. Using my own domain name has made that move a piece of cake.

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Pirate

Gmail isn't bad

I've been using Gmail for a good while, and the adverts aren't intrusive. Ordinary Google adverts. And ad-blocking programs work. Also, it supports POP3 access, so you can transfer you mail to your own system.

I think I'd prefer dealing direct with Google, rather than going through an ISP-controlled domain name, but I can be a paranoid little so-and-so.

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Unhappy

no thanks

i'll be looking elsewhere for my ISP i admit, dont want all my mail belonging to google.

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storage

Interesting that VM are giving their users the full 7gb of storage.

When I set up a colleagues Sky email the other week, they were only giving users 1gb

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Google Gears is your friend

@Blasmeme - don't forget that if you use Google Gears, you GMail is also available offline.

http://gears.google.com/

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@ Blasmeme

"Customers will get the same 7GB inbox as Google offers free via Gmail, and the same features including POP3 and IMAP access"

POP3 is probably what you're using at the moment. I.e. you'll still be able to download emails onto your computer.

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@Blasmeme

They support Pop3 and IMAP, so just set you Outlook / Thunderbird setting to collect mail from pop3.gmail.com (or whatever the server is) and carry on regardless, BUT I think you gain web access to your mail box should you wish.

Seem on reading just to be a change of hosting / server (never can figure out which is which) ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

ends of sticks

Dunno about the advertiser skimming - I guess that depends on what deal's been struck. But you'll still be fine for local storage - you'll presumably connect to gmail with pop or imap.

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Anonymous Coward

@Blasmeme RE: This really sucks.

If you enable POP/IMAP on Gmail you don't see any ads. The only time you might (and I use that word intentionally) see ads based on your mail content is when you fiddle with your filters etc.

We don't want you Virgin Media lot on Gmail anyway... :-)

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@ Blasmeme

You have the wrong end of the stick. Gmail can be accessed via IMAP or POP3, just like your Virgin email account. Set up Outlook / Thunderbird / your email client of choice to access it and you'll not even notice the difference. You don't even have to put up with any advertising.

Having said that, how much longer can Google continue to provide this service for free? I'm sure it doesn't cost them much per customer, but with world & dog using Gmail these days there must be a huge amount of server resources dedicated to it. The people accessing it solely through a proper email client avoid any advertising, thus removing Google's main revenue source. I'd be surprised if Virgin were paying Google much for the privilege of using their free email service.

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Paris Hilton

Jumping into bed ...

Am I being too cynical or are Virgin Media just jumping into bed with any company that sells advertising and screw their customers ?

Paris ... jumping into bed - you work it out.

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Go

@Blasmeme - yes you did miss something

If you read the article, you'd see that you will get to keep the same facilities as before, i.e. IMAP/POP3 access to your mail.

Quote: " and the same features including POP3 and IMAP access"

I use gmail for domains and hardly ever login to the web interface, I just use my normal mail client with google's IMAP/SMTP access.

So you get more space, from a more reliable provider (it does have its moments, but it still beats Virgin's system), and the same facilities. So stop being such a drama queen.

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Filthy filthy filthy

I don't want Google's greasy spiders all over my private mail. And does this mean that all VM customers are automatically signed up to a Google account? Sign in once, and then forget to sign out, all your (Google related) activities nicely profileable down to a paying customer, with address and viewing habits thrown in!

This stinks like a month old corpse trapped in a tree at the strandline.

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Unhappy

Is this good or bad?

I think the critical issue here is what will Google be doing with my email and how does it impact my privacy? Given Google's record, I'd be surprised if they didn't make a bid to own it and use it for whatever they wanted, but maybe I'm just paranoid.

Any word on the privacy aspects of this from The Reg would be most welcome.

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Run your own

I think the only bit I'll miss is that junkmail to my NTL email address currently gets autoforwarded to my home mail server where the spam filter bounces it. I gave up using ISP-supplied email services ten years ago, having acquired a shiny new domain name of my own and sorted out my own email server. Having a static IP address (not on the NTL feed though) means I can still send email without needing to rely on an ISP smarthost with added government snooping.

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whats the problem here

what are peoples problems here? its going from one multi-national company that doesn't give 2 hoots about your problems to another, the only difference is that google knows what they are doing and have a large team trying to improve it.

where is the Larry and/or Sergey halo pic?

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what kind of moron

uses their ISP's email address anyway?

And why would you use POP3 instead of IMAP - you people are morons.

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Black Helicopters

IF people would use it...

PGP is a handy weapon to protect your mail while it is on googles servers.

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Stop

What?

"Using an ISP's email service is a bit like getting all your post via the estate agent .."

Eh? In no way is it like that at all.

However, getting your email via Gmail is exactly like getting all your post via an advertising company - and an advertising company that, to boot, opens and reads every letter that's every sent to you or by you.

Unless Virgin is offering guarantees to its users that Google will not scan and data-mine any mail coming to or going from an address with a Virgin domain, its users have every reason to be outraged.

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Virgin had to do this - they suck too much to do it themselves

I was a satisfied Blueyonder customer and then they were taken over by Telewest. I was a satisfied Telewest customer then they were taken over by Virgin. I am a totally dissatisified Virgin customer.

I have already stopped using Virgin's email systems because they are so unreliable and moved over to Google. I had an email outage lasting three days a few months ago. BTW to the poster who complained about adverts on Google, use a google address with IMAP or POP and you'll never see any adverts.

The main problem with Virgin though is that they lie about speeds, penalise users (by throttling) who use even half of the advertised speed and then frequently just lose cable signal. I have had to complain three times in the last three weeks because my Virgin Broadband connection has died. Each time it was clear that the problem was on their side but each time I had to go through the charade of checking my cable modem settings, rebooting firewalls, turning off, back on, blah blah blah. Each time they finally admitted that the problem was on their side and eventually fixed it without having to visit my house.

They have even had the temerity to invite me to spend even more money upgrading to 50mb. Give me the service I'm already paying for you scumbags and then perhaps I'll think about spending more with you, but I hate them so much that I am actually thinking of downgrading instead.

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Paris Hilton

Haha

So they have given up on being an email provider, it would be nice if they now admitted they are also crap at providing fast reliable broadband.

Even Paris can see they are the worst ISP of all time...

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Make sense to me

If you're unable to hire decent staff who can manage your internal mail systems, it makes sense to outsource.

Gmail isn't without it's own downtime issues though.

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Anonymous Coward

@Neil - Beta

Your probably confusing the freetard Googlemail service, which they class as Beta, with the paid for Google Apps mail service that hosts mail with your own domain..

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Jobs Halo

Google email advertises?

Is there advertising on Google email? Google have been skimming my email for years now and, without looking, I couldn't tell you where on the page the adverts are or who typically advertisers on them.

Ok - I just looked. It's a load of text down the right hand side. My brain obviously filters it out as the noise it is. Oh, but hang on, I never access my Google email through the web only through a client on my computer. So I never see any of their advertising. That'll be why I don't know what it looks like.

I hope Google aren't reading this.

Saint Jobsy - cos he represents the trendy new conglomerates who give me stuff for free.

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Happy

@ /etc

"However, getting your email via Gmail is exactly like getting all your post via an advertising company - and an advertising company that, to boot, opens and reads every letter that's every sent to you or by you."

I wish this definition of "read" had been in action when I was doing GCSE English. Scanning a Shakespeare play for keywords would have been so much easier than actually comprehending it.

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Go

I despair sometimes...

Some people are just out for any excuse to be negative. So far all VM has done is announce the project but have put no flesh on the bones, however some of you are already seeing the devil in the detail.

If the story was that VM were keeping the existing platform and adding another tier of storage, the comments would be that they already have problems coping and should look at the example of wonderful free GMail.

TBH with some of you, if the story was that everything is going to stay exactly the same, but everyone was going to get a free laptop/ipod/xbox/<insert gadget here>, there would then be 3 camps - 1) it's not the right technology for me, 2) it'll be used to spy on me and my tinfoil hatted mates, 3) off topic vitriole because of an existing bias, so VM (and pretty much every major tech co, as the same comments apply) are damned whatever they do.

Personally I like VM, and I like GMail, but which is the best, there's only one way to find out...

(Harry Hill icon? Would be ideal for fanboy, mine is better than yours flamewars)

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Flame

Excellent News!

Email was one of the things that was holding me to Virgin. Now there's nothing to stop me changing: I just need to get a round tuit!

Flames, 'cos that's what will be happening to my Virgin account!

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Jobs Horns

ISP independance for just a few pounds per year

The email is the only thing that ties you to the ISP. Changing your email address is as disruptive as changing your bank. While you can get a gmail/yahoo/hotmail account you then become as dependant on them - and have to put up with the advertising. I dont understand why everyone doesnt pay a few pounds a year to get a domain with a few email accounts which can be directed to the mailbox of your choice. A small price to pay for your online indentity: http://is.gd/sxav

I had the most horrendous service from NTL and Blueyonder on installing broadband - but my email continued uninterrupted and I was safe in the knowledge that I could walk if it wasnt sorted. The cable broadband has run for five years with only one interruption - with the cable modem replaced before 9am the next morning!

Nic@NicEvans.com

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Phew

I was getting fed up with that measly 30mb storage.

It seems that VM have done something good for once.

However does this mean gmail targeted advertising?

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Coat

@Camilla Smythe

"I'm sure Virgin will sort stuff for you....???"

Oh thank you, that's the best laugh I've had all week.

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Joke

Do you actually think PGP is any good in GMAIL???

Oh, come on!!!! pulleeezze! If Google wanted to peek into your PGP encrypted mail, they would brute-force hack it open, just pushing the mail code through their billion-flops computing power to get your password (or bypass it, I don´t know how it´s really done here) in, like, a split-second.

It is a closed-white-picket-fence policy from my point of view: Everybody can jump over a 3-foot tall white fence, but you are not supposed to, since the tiny gate is locked. It is pretty much live WEP encryption - if it is enabled, you are not supposed to bypass it, but you can potentially hack it open in 60 seconds...

You can just prove that if the mail was encrypted, it was not supposed to be openly accessible, hence, you can sue if its contents are revealed (or can you?). Don't plan your next terrorist attack to kill the president through e-mail if you really want privacy. Oops, there you go, now the FBI is tracking this message... but only El Reg can snitch my ID...

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gaz
Go

Great News

Great news for me, as I gave up on my blueyonder account years ago, when it started getting spammed to death, not to mention the crap user name, password, and web interface. I have my blueyonder stuff forwarded to gmail, which nicely weeds out the viagra and penis pump adverts etc.

I want to be able to access my email wherever I am, be it at work, or any of my PCs at home. Gmail though a browser makes that easy for me, and it's free for the cost of a couple of unobtrusive adverts. I also have what is close to push email using imap on my Nokia N800 tablet.

Good news Virgin finally making a couple of good decisions, mystuff (or whatever it's called) looks useful as well.

Now if only they would give me a cheap V+ box (150 quid - havin a laff), as I only want HD and HDMI out. None of this PVR crap, as my myth box is much much better, although the vplayer which has been hinted in blogs for about a years time looks good as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Just the latest cost-cutting exercise

So, Google now has the email monopoly on the two major subscription TV providers in this country - Sky and Virgin Media.

Sounds like Virgin Media's latest cost-cutting exercise, resulting in even more useless customer service. Good look trying to get support from Google via telephone - the best they offer is community self-help support on 'Google Groups' (newsgroups to you and me).

I wouldn't be surprised if Virgin Media did this because it would be too much hassle and expense to try and adapt their existing multiple legacy email platforms to integrate with Wacky Jacqui's new email uberdatabase. Now the onus is on Google to provide the UK government with all the emails instead. So much for the mandatory SSL that GMail now enforces!

Off to check how well PGP integrates with Google Mail...

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Same as SKY

I use Gmail as a SKY user, I have had very little trouble with it. I have found it better then some 'local' systems I have used in the past. If Virgin use the same model as SKY the you have full access via Outlook or any other POP client of your choice, the mail is sent and received via a SSL link, You can send and receive emails to your client if you are connecting via another ISP - say you are away from base and use a hot spot or 3G, I work away from home alot so can't always connect to my ISP and found that I could recieve email via another ISP, but on send when using the old ISP hosted POP servers.

I use the option to keep a copy of all my email on Gmail after it has been delivered to my client as a backup. For those who are concerned about evesdropping etc, you can always encrypt via an PGP plugin.

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Alert

Admin interface login publically exposed

Bit of a security risk?

"Sign in to manage Virgin Media"

https://www.google.com/a/virginmedia.com

User login will be via:

http://mail.google.com/a/virginmedia.com

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@gaz

Google For Eurovox 7000 ;-)

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