With conventional software that runs on your PC, forced upgrades are nearly impossible. Millions of people choose to run Windows XP, a decade-old, theoretically-obsolete operating system. Heck, some people are still running IBM’s OS/2, which never caught on in the first place. But with web-based services such as Gmail, forced upgrades are not only possible but guaranteed. It’s part of the price you pay for allowing a big company to manage your software for you. And the fact that Gmail is a free, ad-supported service probably doesn’t help. Customers who pay for their software have far more leverage than us freeloaders.