Google has announced that its free, web-based email service Googlemail will now be universally available, rather than invitation only, as it has been since 2004.

From today, any UK will be able to sign up for an account. Google is also launching a new, downloadable version of Googlemail for use with mobiles.

Googlemail was launched in 2004 to compete with free rivals like MSN’s Hotmail service. It offers more than 2.8GB of storage, meaning that users rarely have to delete emails.

Googlemail was initially launched in the UK as Gmail, and still uses that name overseas, but was forced to change its name to Googlemail after a trademark dispute with financial research company IIIR.

UK mobile users with a Java-equipped handset can now use Google’s email application, which synchronises with the users web-based email account, and allows the viewing of email attachments and photos.

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