Is it gmail.com or googlemail.com? The answer to this question depends on the country that you are living in and when you have registered a Google Mail account.
Most users who signed up for a Gmail account got the email address in the format [email protected] which you see most often around the web. Users living in Germany or the United Kingdom however got [email protected] addresses instead by default unless they registered an account before June 2005 or October 2005 as they were allowed to keep the gmail.com address in this case.
Why two email addresses? Legal disputes in those two jurisdictions forced Google to change the default email address from gmail.com to googlemail.com with the rule that an already registered gmail.com username would not allow the registration of the googlemail.com username and vice verse.
The administrative email address for users from those two countries is the googlemail.com address however and not gmail.com. Users from the United Kingdom have seen a recent change as Google announced that it would phase out googlemail.com addresses. New registrations from the UK will now get a gmail.com email address while old users have the choice to convert their googlemail.com address to gmail.com.
Only users from Germany are left with googlemail.com email addresses while the rest of the world enjoys gmail.com addresses.
Still, even users from German can use both email addresses when they use the email service.
Update: Google managed to obtain the rights to use Gmail in Germany in 2012. From June 2012 on, all new sign ups from Germany get gmail.com email addresses just like anyone else.
You may encounter a googlemail.com email address sporadically but that should be an exception rather than a regular occurrence even in the UK or Germany.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.