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New Google Project Goes for the Jugular

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The time for subtlety is long gone. No more pussyfooting around. Eggshells be damned.

In Google's eyes -- and millions of others' -- when it comes to webmail, there's only one game in town: Gmail. With its threaded conversations, video chat, and integration with other Google Apps like Google Voice, Google Docs, and Google+, the company can no longer curb its cockiness in the webmail service arena.

And thus, Email Intervention was born.

Stemming from a typical Gmail user's pity for Yahoo, Hotmail, and AOL users -- which also spawned a great Onion article over six years ago -- Email Intervention aims to "save your friends from outdated email" with a simple process that even a great aunt can understand. Here's the video:

The site reads, "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? It's time to take a stand and stage an intervention."

Email Intervention allows Gmail users to manually add contacts accompanied with messages of varying sympathy levels urging folks to make the switch. For example, the "Concerned" approach reads, "I'm worried about you. Year after year goes by and you're still using that outdated email program. I can't sit idly by and watch how this is affecting you and those around you, so I'm staging an email intervention and I'm committed to helping you make the switch to Gmail."

Nope. No word-mincing there.

For Google, it's a particularly brash approach. InformationWeek's Thomas Claburn noted that despite the lightheartedness of the message, "[There's] something unsettling about the company's advocacy of email monoculture."

Then again, Gmail continues to trail Hotmail and Yahoo Mail in user number -- at 190 million users to Hotmail's 360 million and Yahoo's 270 million. It's going to take more than a quirky video for many of those users to bite the bullet and switch services.

(See also: RIM Cuts 2,000 Jobs Except Where It Counts and Microsoft Turns Another Tragedy Into a Money-Making Opportunity)

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