Presumably Google cannot....
Monetize peoples private communications hard enough when they are not signed up to all the other droneware.
Virgin Media plans to shunt its email users over to an in-house system after Google told the cable company that it was ditching Gmail support for ISPs. The Register heard from a number of readers who have been told in recent days about the upcoming changes to the mail service. Virgin Media switched over to Gmail in 2009 and …
Something to be aware of if you use Virgin Media email, which isn't mentioned in the article: When the move to the new system takes place, any mail you currently have sorted by labels (or good old fashioned folders in an IMAP client) is going to have the sorting info stripped and will all be lumped together into your Inbox. Good luck with that one!
" but you can no longer search the text within your emails." Please be aware that this basic functionality has been removed and that Virgin have crippled the service. As usual they have spun this into a massive "improvement" .
Virgin are essentially dishonest. Remember that Sir Richard Branson started his career trying to defraud the Inland revenue (UK tax) but wriggled out of jail time with LOTS OF MONEY. In the UK this earns you a knighthood.
It's not just ISPs which have moved their mail systems to Google en-masse.
Universities and schools have also done this ("it's free!") - either to Gmail or Outlook.
Now that Google are dropping ISPs, I'd take bets that they'll do the same for academic stuff, with Microsoft deciding they can't monetise this for "free" either at about the same time (or shortly afterwards).
One might ask how many have exit and contingency plans laid out, but the lack of answers would probably be disturbing.
I care because I use my ISP email account, and have done for over a decade. I doubt that I'm particularly unusual in that respect.
Having a ISP email is not critical by any means - and yes I know many people who just use the likes of Google Mail or Hotmail (Outlook.com) exclusively and are just fine with that. But just because you can get a free (or chargeable) one from various places online why wouldn't you expect your ISP to provide one or more email accounts for their customers?
Besides, you could do that in the 1990's as well if you wanted to, it's hardly a new thing - my Hotmail account certainly predates this century.
Many ISPs will automatically give you an email address (or have you create one) when you sign up anyway, whether you use it or not is up to you.
An email service actually consists of two components:
o An address at which people can contact you; and
o infrastructure to move messages around and hold them, store and forward, that's how a (e)mail service works.
I maintain my own domain name, so my email address never changes. But I don't want to set up mail servers to do the infrastructure piece, so I've got to "buy" that service from somebody. Might as well be my ISP in my monthly subscription.
"I maintain my own domain name, so my email address never changes. But I don't want to set up mail servers to do the infrastructure piece, so I've got to "buy" that service from somebody. Might as well be my ISP in my monthly subscription."
My domain handler offers email as a paid option, so I don't have to use my primary ISP email at all.
Unfortunately, part of the setup requires another email address as a point of contact (not the one you just created). That might sound acceptable, especially if your domain needs to contact you when your email option has fallen over, however, this requires you to either choose an ISP who offers email, or, create your own account via a third party - which is just stupid, because you just did that.
I used to work in the ISP industry and they really didn't want to be in the business of running an email service, but they had to because they always have. If you have customers using your email service, you'll never be able to get rid of it (no matter how bad the service, many, many existing customers really do rely on it). And if you're running several million mailboxes, you "may as well" continue to offer it - although these days it tends to be a feature you have to enable.
"I used to work in the ISP industry and they really didn't want to be in the business of running an email service"
When I started in the "industry", email was the primary focus with Usenet demand almost as strong. Everything else came later.
Usenet died a death of spam a long time ago. Email is still with us and is still useful but you get what you pay for and if it's "free" you're not in a good position to grumble if it's withdrawn.
...a little while after they moved to Google Mail it became a complete pig to use my Virgin account for anything Google related - namely my YouTube login for subscriptions and whatnot. Logging into YouTube or anything else Google related using my Virgin email address resulted in a highly convoluted - and broken as far as I could tell - process to somehow link the two. Without doing that it effectively stopped you logging in to any Google service with an existing Google account based on a Virgin email address.
End result was giving up and migrating all my subscriptions, settings etc from my Google account registered to my Virgin email, to my actual Google Mail account. Not the end of the world but a ballache.
Thanks Virgin/Google. There's nothing better than when giant companies make U-turns that waste my time. Much love.
I haven't used an ISP email address since my early days on dial-up!
I quickly switched to Hotmail (before MS took over), as after switching ISPs about 2-3 times, I realised having an ISP email address was a pain in the a$$.
It must be a real nightmare these days to switch ISP if you use their provided email address, with the number of web sites insisting on using email addresses as the 'Username'!
I've used a mix of web based email, and my own domains since then.
I run my own email server. a Fit-PC, Windows 7 and VPOP3. It sits quietly on a shelf in my study pretty much doing it's thing without involving me. In truth it seems to spend most of its time telling spotty hacker oiks to bugger off. Legitimate email traffic is pretty rare in comparison to the flood of failed log on attempts and bounced emails.
Would I use gmail - nope too much snoopage. A yahoo account for yahoo groups, a hotmail account for trolling MS, hell I even have an grandfathered netscape.net addy for USENET trolling. Oh and a handful of other yahoo accounts for nefarious purposes. But a Google account never.
There is certainly a gotcha with an ISP email address. I have a demon account with unlimited email addresses but I'm currently migrating to use one of my own domains which similarly has unlimited addresses.
"It must be a real nightmare these days to switch ISP if you use their provided email address, with the number of web sites insisting on using email addresses as the 'Username'!"
I've been trying to get my sister to ditch BT as ISP for years (appalling connection and poor response), but the email address is what keeps her with them as its now been in use for 15 years or so, and she can't even take a stab at how many sites use it as a logon. The other reason she wants to keep the address is because it has her name on it, even though I've offered to sort out a domain of her choice that would offer the same with more flexibility to move.
She's clearly not the only one, so the hassle obviously pays dividends for ISPs in 'stickiness', which is exactly the reason I haven't used one since the days of Demon; having moved ISPs/countries a few times it would have been a nightmare.
I used the allocated email with an ISP in India to communicate (bit of a euphemism) with them because they insisted on it for 'verification' purposes. One day a mail hits the inbox addressed to 'firstname.lastname@example.org' with just the message "If this works, boy are we in for a rough time". We were.
Never mind email, which is optional, I just wish my VM cable connection would work as advertised. For the last month or so I have been getting circa 20 meg from my 152meg connection, with VM claiming capacity issues as the cause - although the problems appeared to happen overnight.
Nothing on the service status page, as usual, you have to call to confirm the issue.
In the interests of balance, I should point out that VM have offered me some compensation - but only for their own service, not the other services like Napster/Netflix etc. that are continually failing due to lack of bandwidth. I'm also unable to work from home effectively as the VPN connection is restrictively slow.
I can get email from anywhere, but not without a reliable connection. That's what we pay you for at the end of the day.
20Mb should make for a reasonable VPN, would easily handle a citrix or RDP client or two.
But I don't think Virgin cable home broadband claim to be a business service. The contractors in the office here usually pay for a business broadband connection and another ADSL for backup.
I just binned an advert from VM stating that 152meg was available down my street.
What a load of dog pooh.
The poor old Copper Coax that was put in the ground 20 years ago can't cope with almost everyone in the street using it.
Next door are lucky to get 5Mb between 3pm and midnight. VM Customer service don't give a damm.
I do not and will never ever sign up to VM. I only wish that they (VM) would stop sending me crap that goes straight into the recycling.
The FTTC connection I use gets around 49meg down all day, every day.
"The FTTC connection I use gets around 49meg down all day, every day."
My VM 100Mb/s connection maxes out at about 85Mb/s but that's most likely down to the mix of old kit on my side of the cable modem being pretty much all 100Mb rather than Gb, inctuding the firewall and primary switch :-)
Most of the people I know around the UK on VM rarely have problems. Those that do seem to be in the areas where the original cable franchise were the first to roll out or are high density/take up areas. I switched to telewest as soon as super-duper-ultra-fast 512kb/s broadband was launched here and have never looked back. BT only quite recently have offered as much as 25Mb/s locally but my VM connection has been at 60,recently upgraded to 100 for free for a good long while now. IIRC I paid to upgrade to 1Mb/s a while after that launched and the early adopter price had dropped a bit, but all other speed upgrades have been free/automatic to the current 100Mb/s I have (usual inflationary price increases notwithstanding). The 152Mb/s service is available but I can't see a justification for the premium rental and the upgrades I'll have to put in place on my own network.
"You don't think they could use the same hash algorithm and arrange for Google to transfer the hash/salt values as part of the migration?"
And since Virgin manage the password before its forwarded to gmail, they already have a copy to authenticate against on their new service, so of course it's not going to change.
"And since Virgin manage the password before its forwarded to gmail, they already have a copy to authenticate against on their new service, so of course it's not going to change."
As a side note, it's entirely possible that the password isn't forwarded to Gmail. Instead, Gmail could query VM's directory service (or just Kerberos for yea/nea) to make sure logins are valid. Single-sign-on: we've heard of it.
This has been posted upon many times, yes, Virgin Media store your password in such a way that it can be supplied in normal form (I don't know if they store it "encrypted", but I have written proof they can decrypt and send it in a letter, so it's definitely not hashed).
No, that was the old days when they switched from their unix mail system to an MS Exchange system at the behest of the two MS board members foisted on them when MS invested. Once they left, along with the MS investment, they were free to change. That's when Google cam in.
The Exchange days were the "fun" times when you got an email every month or so to say the "Exchange store holding email@example.com would be down for "planned maintenance" for up to 24 hours as they cycled through each server, taking it offline, sorting out the crufty databases and bringing it back up again ready for the next cycle.
The Google outsourceing has been fine from my point of view in that I don't use ISP mail much and use POP3/SMTP, not webmail (other than to log in once to tuen off all filtering) and never used the virgin/google email as a google sign-in for anything googly. Their recent email does warn users who do use their VM/google mail for Hangouts etc will lose that function.
they are doing is digging out the old e.mail server code from before they used google and giving its a quick zap and get it going again.
I'm a long time NTL/virgin/liberty/next buyer sufferer
Oh and my yahoo mail accounts are the throw away ones, while the ntl one remains a private one.
They claim the new layout is "simple" but at the same time it requires a cutting edge browser. Ugh! Web mail interfaces are some of the worst web sites I've ever had the misfortune to use. At least gmail is actually able to fall back on a simple, usable interface when confronted with an older browser.
"They claim the new layout is "simple" but at the same time it requires a cutting edge browser"
That may be just their way of saying "don't use old browsers out of support and likely full of security holes, use a new one with modern encryption standards support". I noticed BBC iPlayer says you need Windows 7 now. Except iPlayer still works with Windows XP. It's just not supported or recommended.
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Virgin were locked in to an ancient version of Gmail (e.g. no 2 factor security option)
In any case ISP email has always been garbage. ISPs have to offer it as part of the deal, it costs them to do so. It results in a lot of ongoing end-user support costs with just a small benefit from the inherent "lock-in" and the customers email address "advertising" the ISP.
Were I running an ISP next time they're looking at hiking the monthly charge offer a "no frills" discount and gradually ease out of the free email (and some other add-ons) commitment. Similarly many ISPs provide some free web space and cloud storage - why bother to provide it? and as a customer why would you choose the potential lock-in and a (usually) inferior service.
As for other gripes here about Virgin broadband speed - no problem here I'm on the over 20 year old coax shared with half the street, I just ran a speed test 117Mb/sec download (upload 8Mb/sec, may sound a bit slow but I don't upload a lot)
To follow up some of the comments on web mail interfaces:
I have three main email providers; BT via Yahoo, Virgin and Gmail (Don't use my Hotmail accounts much).
The BT Yahoo web interface is the only one I find really easy to use.
My main use is to sort through the spam folder and educate the SPAM filter.
BT seems to be the only one which allows me to sort by originator which makes finding false positives much faster and easier.
Also good for locating mail in my inbox the spam filter has missed if there is a sudden upturn in spam picked up by my mail client (POP3 or IMAP).
I would just use IMAP if there was a way for the client to educate the server side spam filter.
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