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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Gmail...My One and Only

I've been using Gmail in a limited fashion ever since the first few weeks it was released. At this point, I have a few months of Gmail experience under my belt and made a somewhat "drastic" move over the weekend - I forwarded all my active e-mail accounts (at last count about 50) to my Gmail account.

I have bashed free e-mail services for years. Hotmail sucks almost as much as Yahoo. I'll save all the details of just how much, and why, they suck for another post. Gmail on the other hand has really won me over.

When you have 50 + e-mail accounts and about that same number of logins/interfaces to work with it can really be a pain in the ass. Between all my accounts I probably get 200 e-mails a day that I actually want - that number does not include spam. I found myself spending hours and hours of my day logging in to various accounts and replying to e-mails. Not to mention that the organization of my accounts was horrible. Inboxes with hundreds and hundreds of e-mails were not uncommon. Finding old e-mails was a joke as the search functionality of just about every web based app, and Outlook, is atrocious. What I wanted - correction - what I needed, was a single interface/app to manage all of e-mail. It had to be reliable and available on any PC with an internet connection and had to have pop access so I could check it with my mobile device. When you get 200 e-mails a day storage is also an issue.

Enter Gmail.

After months of testing, as I mentioned earlier, I made the call over this past weekend to forward every single on of my e-mail accounts to my Gmail account. Sitting here today I can say with all sincerity it's one of the best e-mail decisions I've made in a long, long time. What are Gmail's perks you ask? Check out this feature set.

To me, the most important feature is pop access. Now that Gmail has it (it didn't always) I can get my mail on my Treo 650 without navigating to Gmail through the web interface. Gmail's spam filter is top notch and I have only experienced one period of downtime that lasted about 5 minutes over the past few months.

The biggest thing to get use to when using Gmail is never deleting your messages and not using folders to sort your mail. You can delete them but there's really no need to. I archive everything. Gmail's search is powered by the same engine that powers Google's search - in short it's awesome. There is no need to create separate folders for different e-mail anymore. Just archive everything and search for it when you need it. The search is lightning fast too.

12 Comments:

At 10:46 PM, Pastyface said...

I to have been using gmail since about a week after its original beta release(couldnt get anyone to give me an invite). I havnt used many email apps such as you have but in the few I have used nothing can compare. To me searching my mail quickly is a god send....

 
At 8:21 AM, GuyFromChicago said...

being able to search mail - and actually get back what I'm looking for - is very cool.

Outlook's search is slow and inaccurate and all of the web based apps that I've used have the search capabilities of a blind man who's been drinking Jack Daniels all day. They suck.

The cool part, now that I'm used to it, is not using folders to sort/store mail anymore. Everything gets archived and I ave trouble at all finding anything.

 
At 11:02 AM, jeffrey said...

Outlook desktop/pocketpc fan here. I despise web based email, the interface is just not as good or as fast as an application. The day will no doubt come where it is not the case. The great thing about Gmail is the storage. I use outlook and the "leave mail on server" option so I can use the web based if I am in a jam (best o both worlds)

 
At 11:16 AM, GuyFromChicago said...

I was an Outlook fan forever...no more. I don't dislike it, I just like it less than Gmail.

What does Outlook do better than Gmail....besides crash? ;-)

 
At 2:02 PM, jeffrey said...

I have been using Outlook 2003 for a long time, no crashes that I can remember. I did have it hanging on startup for a while because of an issue with server side processing rules with the exchange server but that is not a common thing.

I hope we can agree for a work environment Gmail is not even an option for reasons such as calendar/contact sharing and so forth because an exchange server is in the mix.

• Better text editor
• Better spellchecking
• UI selection
• Better contact management
• Customizable fields
• Ability to run queries on fields as a lower end CRM
• Program interface (pass data from another Office application, such as a word mail merge)
• Calendar
• Ability to function without a connection.
• Tasks
• Can even make sub folders in Gmail? If not subfolders
• Incoming mail processing. Ability to organize my email for me, yes the search function of outlook is slower but my mail system is organized in such a way I never use it.
• Basic windows interface (shift/cntrl click, drag drop)
• Reminders for calendar/tasks
• Syncing with PDA/Phone makes all other features X2 especially reminders

Good disscussion though..And yes Notes BLOWS!!!!!!

 
At 2:27 PM, GuyFromChicago said...

”I hope we can agree for a work environment Gmail is not even an option for reasons such as calendar/contact sharing and so forth because an exchange server is in the mix.”

Agreed, if people use the calendar/contact info sharing in your work environment Gmail is not even close to being a viable replacement for Outlook.

My comments with the "-" in front of them below.


• Better text editor
- blah, people that edit the crap out of their text annoy me. If I get one more multi colored multiple font e-mail I will scream!

• Better spellchecking
- After a few weeks of training Gmail I would put them on a near equal playing field.

• UI selection
- Bells and whistles…:-)

• Better contact management
- Outlook is the clear winner.

• Customizable fields
- I don’t think in all my time using Outlook (which has been years) I’ve ever used that feature.

• Ability to run queries on fields as a lower end CRM
- Again, Outlook wins.

• Program interface (pass data from another Office application, such as a word mail merge)

-You and your data are really killing me. (Outlook wins)

• Calendar
- Yep.

• Ability to function without a connection.
- A computer with no connection is worthless anyway. If you can’t connect go play Xbox.

• Tasks
- Never use them…but you’re right, no such Feature in Gmail.


• Can even make sub folders in Gmail? If not subfolders
- Nope, and there’s no need to. It took me a bit of time to adjust but I feel like it’s opened a new paradigm of sorting data in my mind. I look at things a different way.

• Incoming mail processing. Ability to organize my email for me, yes the search function of outlook is slower but my mail system is organized in such a way I never use it.
- Gmail wins here…you can create rules in Gmail on how to handle incoming mail. Plus, by not having to organize/sort your mail you save time.

• Basic windows interface (shift/cntrl click, drag drop)
- Outlook wins.

• Reminders for calendar/tasks
- Lay off the weed and you won’t need them. (J/K - Outlook wins)

• Syncing with PDA/Phone makes all other features X2 especially reminders
- I never sync anything so this isn’t all that important to me. When you don’t use Outlook, there’s no need to sync.


Now with all that said I should admit that I use Outlook at work.

Wait until the Google OS arrives…that will change everything. A lot of Outlook’s advantages are it’s abilities to interact with other MS products. Google doesn’t have other products for Gmail to interact with at this point but they will…and they will be better:-)

For those that like to compromise, just use Outlook and Gmail together with pop3. I am opposed to compromise of any sort!

 
At 3:38 PM, jeffrey said...

Sounds like your smoking somhing a little stronger than weed.... lol

 
At 9:34 AM, GuyFromChicago said...

Oh, one more thing regarding creating folders in Gmail - as I mentioned before you don't need to. Gmail has what they call "labels" which allow you to essntially catorgarize e-mails prior to archiving.

There will be a Google OS and everything will change...mark my words:-)

Rob Pike is at Google. Check out that link on info for who he is. Also, look at the research backgroundof the Google employees in OS, networking, and distributed systems. Compiler Optimization. Thread migration. Distributed shared memory.

MS should be worried.

 
At 11:15 AM, GuyFromChicago said...

Regarding my previous comments on integration - leading up the Google OS - http://calendar.google.com/

Right now it's just a google search page but word on the street is it won't stay way....

The setup that subdomain for a reason:-)

 
At 8:49 AM, GuyFromChicago said...

You know, sometimes it's rough being right all the time:-)

http://www.internetnews.com/xSP/article.php/3553371

That's some info on plans for "Google Office".

Google is your overlord. Admit and accept:-)

 
At 2:02 PM, jeffrey said...

Care to make a bet?
I bet in the long run Microsoft phone/Pda/workstation/ Outlook Web Access/Exhange server solution will become the dominant email solution. First, by slowly overtaking RIM for the corporate sector then the consumer market (Palm is now of no concern as they are now MS’s bitch).

I cannot see Google coming out with an OS on their own, that is a huge undertaking. I could see them branding a flavor of Linux, but that brings us back to the old discussion of Linux v Windows. And StarOffice has been around forever usually found on Linux Systems.

Working with Microsoft essentially ties me to the success failure of the company and I realize this, aside from that I really do believe the future is PDA/Phone devices and Windows mobile / Pocket office type apps such as Pocket Outlook make the most sense.

 
At 8:37 AM, GuyFromChicago said...

I agree that MS has a hold on the business sector that won't easily be wrenched away by anyone, including Google. Change in corporate america, even when it's obvious it's needed and would be beneficial, is slow. Change takes years.

In terms of the home user market though...I think Google is and will continue to make progress on MS's territority. Chat clients, e-mail, ISP, web hosting, etc etc. All are in the works or will be soon. Easier to use and basically free when compared to MS's home user products.

In terms of a Google OS, think virtual. I have no facts to back it up but things I've seen have lead me to believe that Google's "OS" will be a virtual OS. Imagine your Google personal home page on steroids - gives you a few gig of remote storage, intergarted with and office type app, etc, etc. You could access your "virtual OS" from any pc in the world with an Internet connection.

If all else fails we can just set up a cage match between Bill & Larry. Winner takes all!

I don't see Google releasing a "ship it in the box" OS. Not their style.

 

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