Elon Musk
Elon Musk has hinted at the arrival of Gmail rival called XMail. Wikimedia Commons

Following a recent hoax claiming Gmail is shutting down, Elon Musk announced that his social media platform, X, is developing an alternative email service called Xmail. Some users, citing concerns about trust in Google's services, have expressed interest in switching to XMail.

During an exchange on his social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Musk hinted at the impending arrival of XMail. Regrettably, the billionaire did not divulge other key details about the service.

Amid the lack of an official confirmation, some reports suggest XMail will probably be integrated into the X app. The news was revealed when Nathan McGrady, an X engineer, inquired on the platform about XMail's launch date. Musk responded by simply saying, "It's coming".

Musk has a reputation for making ambitious pronouncements that haven't always materialised. For instance, he warned of potential bankruptcy for Tesla rivals Rivian and Lucid citing their substantial spending in June 2022. So, readers may choose to approach this news with cautious optimism.

Email wars: X enters the email fray

Also, even if XMail launches successfully, the service will face an uphill battle against Gmail, which is considered to be the world's most dominant email service. It supports over a hundred languages and accounted for 36.5% of email opens globally in 2021, according to data shared by Statista. As of 2024, data shared by Demand Sage shows that Gmail has more than 1.8 billion active users.

It has been suggested that X's version of Gmail could potentially be developed. However, the level of user adoption remains to be seen. Musk has been implementing significant changes on X after acquiring the platform, but public opinion has not necessarily been favourable. Therefore, it remains unclear whether users will trust X with their email management.

Moreover, using "X" as an email address raises concerns although the letter itself isn't inherently problematic. Still, some users are likely to associate it with sexually suggestive content. This association might prevent some users from adopting an email address containing "X" and ditching an email service they know, trust and have used for years.

Musk is known for actively promoting products and services from his various companies. The billionaire also doesn't shy away from leveraging moments of public interest surrounding competitor products to raise the profile of his own offerings.

The 52-year-old business magnate has previously spoken about his long-term vision for his social media platform X, aiming to transform it into an "everything app" that boasts an impressive array of services and features.

The everything app is expected to incorporate parts or all of X (Twitter) and offer online services and utilities such as ridesharing and food deliveries. If Musk's post is to be believed, it will also integrate email services.

Is Gmail really shutting down?

For example, he promoted his AI startup xAI's chatbot Grok during a period of high public interest concerning Google's Gemini AI. Similarly, The news about XMail's arrival coincides with recent false claims suggesting Google is shutting down its email service, Gmail.

The word on the street is that XMail might be developed by xAI Musk's AI company established in March 2023. As the name suggests, the startup focuses on the field of artificial intelligence.

In November, the company's first product, a "sarcastic" chatbot called Grok was unveiled. In an X post, Musk noted that the "Grok system is designed to have a little humor in its responses". This AI-powered chatbot is capable of answering "spicy questions" that are often rejected by other "woke" AI systems, such as ChatGPT.

Rumours recently circulated online indicating Google would shut down Gmail in August 2024. However, the search giant debunked this speculation, which stemmed from a fabricated email image purporting to be from Google.

Unsurprisingly, the email turned out to be fake and Google has confirmed that "Gmail is here to stay". The American tech giant is reportedly gearing up to shut down the basic HTML view this year and switch users to the service's "Standard" view.