4/22/2004

Gmail has arrived

So, I got to sign up for my gmail account (thanks Blogger!).



I was just in there playing around with it, and it's very well done. Blows Yahoo & Hotmail out of the water. I can recommend it to anyone who's using one of those services as their primary email provider, but I'm not going to switch over, at least not yet, for a few reasons:
  1. They show ads, and don't give you the option to buy an ad free version. Worse, they draw on the content of your email for the ad targeting. That may be the way of the future, and I know it's all automated, but I still want my private stuff to be private. I'd be happy to even pay for the service without that.
  2. They don't give you any way to spoof emails from your own domains, like me sending from ianvarley.com. So everyone would see the mail is coming from you@gmail.com. Like I said, if you're already using Hotmail or Yahoo, that's no problem, but I need to be able to send out from my own domains. I don't know how they'd verify that you actually own the domains; I guess that's the problem.
  3. They don't give you any kind of export abilities yet. If I want to switch away from my current IMAP provider, I just open Outlook and drag my messages to my new IMAP provider. If I want to switch away from Gmail ... good luck.
  4. It's very efficient web-top software, but it's still web top. I want it to integrate with fully functional desktop software. It's theoretically possible, but I reckon that's still a few years off (though who knows, maybe they'll open up XML APIs like they have on their search and then people can build such a client.)
That said, I think there are some really elegant things about it:
  • No deleting email. Finally.
  • Treat threads as single items all the time, and show the messages within the thread. Totally.
  • Searching is elegant, Google-fast and Google-complete. That can hardly be said of what I'm using now.
I think I would convert over if I could get points #2 and #3 above. I'll live with the ads if it's functional in the other ways I need it to be.

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