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Gmail posts 'intervention' tool to wrangle non-users

To pull in non-Gmail users, Google has launched a new campaign for people to help get their friends on board.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
Email intervention

Google's not exactly hurting when it comes to the number of people using its Gmail Web e-mail service, though in a new marketing move it's trying to grow that pot to catch up to Yahoo and Microsoft.

The company today rolled out a cheeky new "email intervention" program, offering existing Gmail users with a way to nudge their friends to switch over from their existing provider.

"You've probably already improved the lives of your friends and family members by helping them switch to Gmail, but what about that one friend who still hasn't made the switch?" the site reads. "It's time to take a stand and stage an intervention."

What that amounts to is one of three specialized form e-mails that existing Gmail users can pick from and send to friends that includes a prepared "intervention video" that pitches the service. Users can also record their own personalized message that uses YouTube.

A sample "email intervention" letter.
A sample "email intervention" letter. Google

Microsoft, which is currently the king of Web mail at around 350 million active users launched a similar effort earlier this year to attract Yahoo Mail users posting reviews from customers and the press, as well as a Q&A section that spells out why people should make the switch. Notably different from Google's approach is that Microsoft is targeting individual users versus Google's campaign which lets users sent out intervention e-mails to multiple friends at once.

Google's Gmail currently sits in third place in the Web e-mail race with approximately 200 million users. It trails Yahoo Mail which reported some 270 million users back in March.