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Pranks, Rumors, Hoaxes
The Computer Corner

March 24, 2024

by Charles Miller

It was a bit of a surprise to me that I received only a few calls from concerned email users asking about Google’s plans to discontinue its Gmail service later this summer. If you are a Gmail user, please try not to panic now, and keep reading.

To each of the readers who phoned me I explained that Google has stated publicly it has no plans to sunset Gmail any time soon, and the whole rumor about this is just a hoax. A couple of weeks ago an official-looking press release allegedly from Alphabet, the parent company of Google, started making the rounds of the internet; it stated that Gmail was scheduled to be shut down on August 1, 2024. The press release was a fake, and the whole thing just another internet hoax.

In one sense this hoax could be a master class on how to prank the internet and that is what one clever prankster did. It seems that the hoax had its genesis in an exchange of tweets on X, formerly Twitter, when the company owner Elon Musk was asked about the possibility of his starting a new Xmail service to compete with Gmail. His succinct response was “It’s coming.” That alone should not have been enough to start a believable hoax, but in this case there are some back stories that dovetail to make it seem credible.

Elon Musk with his right-wing views seems to take great pleasure in jerking the chain of the woke left-wingers at Google. It sounds quite plausible that he, Musk, might want to start a new email service to siphon users away from Google.

And then there is the fact that there are probably knowledgeable and informed Gmail users who use their free Gmail accounts every day knowing that Google could decide it is time to kill Gmail to shut off their email service at any time. That fear is well-founded because Google has a very long history of shutting down or discontinuing products and services on a whim, even incredibly popular ones. Do you remember Picasa? There is actually an entire website devoted to chronicling all of the products and services Google has killed.

Point your browser to “” (no www) to see the list of almost 300 products and services that were once available from Google but are gone now. Some of the names are smaller companies Google acquired then shut down while many more are services Google developed in-house. The management at Google is focused on the search for the next super-profitable technological breakthrough. They have a history of killing products that fail to establish a dominant market position, even if the product is popular with users and is actually making a profit.

So back to the Gmail-is-shutting-down hoax, when you combine the history of Elon Musk’s behavior with the history of Google’s behavior you have the appearance of a plausible nexus and a perfectly believable hoax. As of this writing, Elon Musk has not announced plans for the creation of any new email service to compete with Gmail, at least not yet. And Google even went so far as to use its account on their rival Elon’s Twitter site to tweet out the message: “Gmail is here to stay.”


Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant with decades of IT experience and a Texan with a lifetime love for Mexico. The opinions expressed are his own. He may be contacted at 415-101-8528 or email FAQ8 (at)


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