Soapbox

Published: 2006-01-21

Apparently Google Mail (gmail) addresses are now only available by invitation. Someone who already has a free gmail account has to bestow upon you the honor to also have a free account. I didn't know this until I had a conversion with a woman I'll just call "L" (I kinda feel like Edgar Allen Poe referring to someone with a single initial). The dialog went remarkably like this:

L: Hey, do you want an invitation to get a gmail address? You know they're only available by invitation now?

Me: I own a domain, I can create as many email addresses as I feel like.

L: Yeah but these gmail addresses are an exclusive thing now, it's like a privilege to be invited in now.

Me: You mean like Cartmanland?

L: Huh?

Me: Never mind, I'll pass.

Ooooh, so it's an exclusive privilege to have a gmail address now? Well as exclusive as something that millions of people have can be. Guess what you Google snobs, a @huguesjohnson.com email address is even more exclusive than your gmail address. They're so limited that I can only think of one person who's elite enough to get one. I think I'll "invite" myself to get one now:

Me: Hey buddy, do you want a super-mega-private @huguesjohnson.com email address? They're so very difficult to get.

Myself: Sweeeet! I hear a @huguesjohnson.com address is even harder to get than one of those fashionable gmail addresses.

Me: And how, did you know I'm the only person in world who even qualifies. Well, other than your bad self of course.

Myself: Here I was hoping that someone would invite me to join gmail, this is like a dream come true. Although does a @huguesjohnson.com email address come with all the kewl "relevant advertising and related links based on the IP address, content of messages and other information related to your use".

Me: Sorry, you'll have to miss out on a third party scanning your private email and barraging you with ads based on their content and the geographic location of your IP address.

Myself: Bummer. I was really looking forward to that. By the way, how many of the people that have their underpants in a knot over wiretapping cell phone numbers found in Afghanistan have a gmail address?

Me: More than a few I'm sure, why do you ask?

Myself: Text parsing is a lot easier than voice parsing so Google could be accumulating information about you much more rapidly than a system listening to your voice calls. Even the bloated U.S. government doesn't have the manpower to monitor that many phone conversations at once. If they could monitor a thousand at once I'd be surprised. Google on the other hand can scan millions of emails per day. They can collect more information in a single day than government wiretaps can in a year I bet. If the U.S. government setup some super computer to listen every phone call in the country and parse the audio content they probably couldn't keep up with Google. And to top it off it's marketed as some kind of special privilege to have one of these email accounts. Google's a great search engine and all but do you really trust them with your private messages?

Me: So maybe we should invite terrorists to participate in wiretapping, act like they're getting to join some special group.

Myself: Nice.