So, it’s the eve of Google’s IPO offering. The company spiffs up its interface, adds a few search thingies, and caps it all today by announcing … free email? Good golly, but that feels awfully 1997.
Sure, it’s nice having a gigabyte of storage, and Google’s text ads beat banner ads at Yahoo and Hotmail. But is the new service — to be called Gmail — really the best place for Google to do some pre-IPO positioning? I’m sure many people would pay for a Google-based desktop search, a la X1, but I just can’t imagine many people ante-ing up for more webmail –from Google or anyone else.