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The only way Gmail is going down is if Google dies with it

Published Feb 23rd, 2024 6:50AM EST
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Image: Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

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A well-made prank spread panic on social media on Thursday evening, as people kept sharing an official-looking email from Gmail telling users that “Google is sunsetting Gmail.” The “email” made waves on social, going viral, which is not a surprise. A company killing what is easily its biggest service out of the blue would be a good reason to panic. 

Google straightened everything with a simple “Gmail is here to stay” message on the official Gmail handle on Twitter/X. That should be enough to reassure any Gmail user that everything is fine with their favorite email provider. That it won’t go away now or ever. But such official messaging rarely goes viral. 

That’s why I’ll tell you something that should be obvious if you’re a savvy enough internet and Google user. The only way Gmail is going down is if Google dies along with it. 

Google makes most of its money from online ads. Google Search is its main product. It all revolves around it. But Google makes more money from personalized ads. That money can fuel all the free apps Google offers users, including Gmail, Maps, and YouTube, which, in turn, will generate more user data that Google can monetize via ads. 

Gmail is the key component in the way Google accounts work. If it weren’t for Gmail, I would probably not have a Google account to begin with. I would not need one to use most of Google’s free apps. I can go on YouTube and use Google Maps without logging into my account. 

Not all of Google’s apps work without accounts, of course. Some of them require usernames and passwords to protect sensitive data that resides in the cloud. Like access to productivity apps, Google Drive docs, Google Photos, and Google One storage. 

But, again, the Gmail account is the key element for all of that. Creating a Gmail account doesn’t only gives you access to one of the best email platforms out there. It also opens the entire Google ecosystem up. That Gmail account is your Google account, and you use it to log into everything that Google offers you. You can use your Gmail handle to log into apps and services that support Google logins as well. 

Google will use all the data it can collect about you while you’re signed in to profile you for ad purposes. It’s how the Google ecosystem works, so there are no surprises there. 

Shutting down Gmail for any reason would mean shooting yourself in the foot. It wouldn’t just cause a massive email problem and an exodus to competing platforms. It would have huge effects on the entire company. Why get a Google account if email wasn’t part of it?

If it were to happen, Google would notify you about sunsetting your account via Gmail. Probably via an email that looks a lot like the one above.

That said, hoaxes like these might scare those Gmail users who don’t know or care about how technology works. And they’ll continue to spread as virally. After all, we live in the age of generative AI, which makes it increasingly easier to generate text and images that might look like the real thing.

I will say there are ways to lose access to Gmail, but all of them would be your fault. You might misplace the password and remain locked out. You might not have accessed Gmail in a few years, so Google will delete your account. In this case, you won’t really miss it. Finally, you might run out of storage, in which case using Gmail will be problematic until you fix it.

But Gmail will work just fine for billions of other users. Because yes, Gmail is here to stay.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.