In the US users of the free Google email service have had Gmail addresses form the launch of the email service. However, in the UK a trademark dispute prevented Google from being able to use Gmail addresses.
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That dispute has ended. Users will have the option to keep their old @googlemail accounts or they will be able to get their accounts with @gmail extensions.
Business users will also have the options of switching. The new email extension is shorter and Google figures calling to Gmail extension will save about 60 million keystrokes per day.