Grepular

Changing from GoogleMail to GMail Killed My Phones Battery Life

Written 7 years ago by Mike Cardwell

Clicking a link on a web page caused my phone to run out of battery more quickly. Why?

When Googles email offering was originally released in the UK in 2004, they used the domain name gmail.com. In 2005 they had to change to using googlemail.com because another UK company had already been using the name “gmail” for a web application for two years. On May 3rd this year, they changed it back to gmail.com and provided an option to convert your email address. The old email address would still work as well of course. I chose to convert my address, foolishly assuming there would be no problems…

Shortly after doing this, I started to notice that the battery life of my Android G1 phone had become considerably worse. Previously it would last up to two days without a charge, but now it wasn’t even making it through a single day. This went on for a few days before it bothered me enough to investigate further. I noticed that the Market Place application was constantly trying to download updates for some reason, yet failing to start. I guessed that this might be the problem, but I didn’t make the connection to the email address conversion. After a bit of searching, I found that other people in the UK with Android phones had the same problem with the Market Place after switching to gmail.com. My phone was configured to use my googlemail.com address, and that was no longer authenticating successfully. The only way to update my email address on the phone would be to do a factory reset. I didn’t want to have to go through resetting my phone and configuring it all up again, so I just changed my address back to googlemail.com from gmail.com.

Google are apparently aware of the issue and are looking into a fix. I don’t know why they don’t just put up a warning about the problem when displaying the option to convert; it would have saved me a lot of hassle.

A few other things broke too after making the change. I had to reconfigure my IM client for GTalk. I also noticed that I was no longer receiving instant messages informing me of new Tweets; I use the excellent tweet.im service which sends me messages over GTalk. Something which was fixed by changing to gmail.com was that sharing a domain in Google Analytics from the account of a gmail.com user now worked. Previously, it was telling the other user that they had successfully shared the domain with me, but it wasn’t showing up in my account. Interestingly, after changing back to googlemail.com, I can still see the domain in analytics now.

I wouldn’t expect to see these sorts of problems on Google products. I guess a lot of their developers don’t consider, or aren’t aware of, the existance of googlemail.com.

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