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Google opens Gmail to all

Previously the service, which provides users with 2.8GB of e-mail storage space, has been available by invitation only.

Google on Wednesday said its Gmail service is now open to anyone who wants an account. Previously the service, which provides users with 2.8GB of e-mail storage space, has been by invitation only.

The service, known as Google Mail in the U.K., has proved very popular. When it was launched, Google raised eyebrows with its practice of indexing the content of e-mails so that the company could place contextual advertisements in them. Nevertheless, early ZDNet UK stories garnered hundreds of reader responses from people looking for free accounts.

Google ceded rights to the Gmail name in the U.K. following a court case with Independent International Investment Research, which registered the trademark Gmail in the time between Google's Web-based e-mail launch and the search firm's own attempt to trademark the Gmail name.

Its woes did not end there: across western Europe, a quiet battle rages on between Google and Daniel Giersch, a German-born venture capitalist who insists he'll never relinquish his 6-year-old trademark registration of "G-mail...und die Post geht richtig ab" (translation: Gmail...and the mail goes right off).

Google said it has also launched an application to let U.K. users access Gmail or Google Mail on their mobiles. The application, which will run on any Java-based phone with data services, synchronizes Google Mail on the phone with the user's Web-based account. E-mail attachments such as photos, PDF and text documents can all be viewed from mobile devices, said Google. The application is free of charge. Google said it will be available for download from here.

Matt Loney of ZDNet UK reported from London.