Well it was probably only a matter of time, but GMail has introduced a new feature that makes it easier for users of other email services with POP access to migrate their accounts.
Of course Hotmail, after what seemed to be an eternity, recently added in POP3 access for free to all its users. Now we may know why it took so long. The POP3 access allows GMail to forward messages from the other POP3 accounts, making a transition easier.
One of the things that makes free web based mail services interesting is “stickiness”: that is because it is such a pain to change email addresses (along with the actual migration, you have to let everyone know your new address, reprint business cards, change settings on mailing lists, etc. etc.), you’re more likely to stick with the service you have rather than go through all the trouble to change.
And while it’s not a new idea, GMail’s new migrator, which should be available for new accounts no, and then rolling out to existing accounts in the coming weeks, tries to make that whole process easier. Google is using TrueSwitch, which Windows Live users may remember as the 3rd party manager used to move email accounts from Hotmail to @live.com addresses over. However Google has taken it a step further, allowing switchers to bring their contacts along with them, which wasn’t available during the hotmail to live.com switch.
GMail has had its share of downtime lately, and has what might be the ugliest interface of any web based mail in existence, so we’re not sure why anyone would want to switch, but there you go.