Everyone not hiding under a rock is aware that there is a war on, between the Microsoft and Google camps, placing many in the crossfire. The first to be part of the casualties was the user base of Yahoo, who were thrown under the bus, as the CEO of Yahoo decided that cash up front was more important than long-time user loyalty.

Now the Gmail user becomes an (unknowing) part of the confrontation. A service called Xoopit, which I must say, I was totally unaware of, was something that Gmail users could use from within the Gmail web interface, to see, and work with, their picture collections.  Now, that service is being removed, because Yahoo had purchased Xoopit, and, of course, Mr. Ballmer wants to punish those who use Gmail. The unspoken part of that is, as surely as Nikita Khruschev ruled the satellite countries of the old USSR in the ’60s, Mr. Ballmer is calling the shots through the puppet CEO at Yahoo.

An article from Download Squad gives a little clearer picture.

Xoopit is a service that turns Gmail into a powerful media browser, letting you quickly view your attachments. Since Yahoo! acquired it, though, it’s been available to Yahoo! Mail users, and now Yahoo! is looking to make it exclusive. Xoopit will become the My Photos feature of Yahoo! Mail, and it’s being pulled out of Gmail completely. Even the Firefox add-on and Facebook app for Gmail are being discontinued.

How does Yahoo! explain removing Xoopit from its biggest group of users? “We will not be able to keep investing in our Xoopit for Gmail product, and don’t want you to end up with a lousy experience.” That’s going to leave a lot of Xoopit Gmail users disgruntled. Here’s how this move affects you if you’re one of them: your Xoopit data disappears on November 13th, but your attachments remain untouched (albeit unindexed) in your account. I don’t know about other Xoopit users, but losing the service certainly doesn’t make me want to sign up for an email address with the company that took it away. Bad form, Yahoo!

Of course, we know that this will not be the last thing in the war. We also can refer to the maxim that tells us that to expect the status quo forever is a fool’s mission.

As this is written, (if it has not already occurred) Google is restoring the ability of users to do the very things that Xoopit previously allowed, most likely through a part of Picasa. Will there be temporary inconvenience? Certainly. But the result will be that the Gmail user experience will get better.

That is the trend, and that is what we can expect. Google tends to fight back, on the behalf of its users, as the company knows that user loyalty is not something to be messed with, or taken lightly.

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Miss California-Marijuana 2008

Just think, if Xoopit worked, I could put a picture like this one in my Gmail message… It’ll happen again soon – it just won’t be courtesy of Xoopit.

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