Dave Taylor has been involved with the online world since 1980 and
is recognized globally as an expert on both technical and business
issues. He has been published over a thousand times, launched four Internet-related
startup companies, has written twenty business and technical books and holds both an MBA and MS Ed.
He's a columnist for the Boulder Daily Camera and
Linux Journal and frequently appears
in other publications both online and in print.
Additionally, Dave maintains four weblogs:
The Business Blog at Intuitive.com,
Ask Dave Taylor,
Dave On Film,
Based in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, Dave is an award-winning speaker, sought after conference and workshop participant and
frequent guest on radio and podcast programs, as well as active member of
his community and busy single father to three children.
Does Google's Gmail discriminate against overseas customers?
I've read all about the challenges that Google has with its search engine and news results in foreign countries, and I've even written about how Google's Orkut social networking solution is attracting Brazilian drug dealers, but I'd always blithly supposed that the Gmail service was at least country neutral.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I received the following email from a correspondent, reporting his investigation when he started to read about the new auto-save feature in Gmail, but not seeing it when he logged in...
I was pretty upset that I wasn't seeing the new features, so I sent an email via "Contact Us" in GMail Help but received no response. Understandable due to the quantity of messages they must get.
I found a couple of Forums discussing this issue. Quite a few complaining not only now but in the past about not receiving new features.
Some of the theories advanced were:
- accounts on servers not yet updated,
- new features only offered to random users,
- new features are only offered to newer users
But what caught my attention was that one user mentioned that changing the GMail language settings (which can be done through Settings --> General --> Language) to English (US) would fix the problem, though there wasn't anything else I found that seemed to agree with this suggestion.
I don't remember fiddling with my language settings but thought I'd check it anyway. Guess what? Mine was set as English (UK).
I changed it to English (US) and whamo! I had "New! Auto-save and more" in the top right hand side of the screen, what I've been wanting for quite some time now. Even better, it also enabled the Contacts Export feature, which I've really wanted to use since I first heard about it.
I find this a fascinating situation and while I understand the caution with which Google rolls out new features on a popular service like Gmail, it's hard not to be intensely curious about this particular method of limiting access to specific features.
But no, I'm not going to become a paranoid conspiracy nut about Google. Not this time, at least.
Posted by Dave Taylor at October 11, 2005 12:27 AM
Before you leave a comment, a tip: If you're interested in blogging, you should sign up for my Blogsmart News so you can stay up to date
on the latest insider tips and ideas for your Internet business and marketing
efforts. Sign up right now and you'll get a free copy
of my "Insider's Guide to Blogging" ebook too!