I have been using gmail now for about 6 weeks. I got invites yages ago when it first came out but never really thought much of it.
Im never one for vacant praise of evil mega-corps but credit where credit is due, Gmail is really something special.
Here is what is so good about it:
- Its a Web Software: Web Software (Web serbvices) is the future. In many ways they have been around for ages but it is only recently that they are coming into their own as viable alternatives to disk based systems. I want my entire system to be available from any connected PC, and gmail plays a big part in this.I wnat it to be the same interface as much as possible and the same data wherever I am.
- Fast - From start up to inbox Gmail is about as fast as you can get. It knocks the socks of Outlook, outlook express, other webmails. Its fast to use, fast (lightning fast) to find any email. The general speed in every sense is faster than desktop components.
- Predictive addresses: I love the predictive email address. I dont use the address book anymore. Yes, outlook has something close and so does hotmail I think, but this just works better. Its as if the design brief for this feature was "You whatever it takes to minimize the amount of characters a user has to type to get the email address I want." And it works, the list of suggestions seem to change each time, and each time, you seem to be miraculsly close to what you wanted.
- Low Spam - I have tried them all for spam hunting and until now the best for me was defo MailWasher. But the Gmail spam fighting is even better. I get alot of spam, it doesnt really bother me, Im not "Spam Anal", but i dont want it. if I go to my spam folder in gmail, which i clean lots, there are 406 spam mails. Whats impressive though is how confident I am that none of those will be false postives.
- Conversations - These are not done perfectly, but the fact they are done close to perfection makes a huge difference to how I see email.
- Archiving - Outlook appreciates the importance of archiving, but the way it implements it, is really slow and cumbersome. In Gmail you archive everything as soon as you have answered it. We have been using a similar system to this in work for a couple of years, but this is much more streamlined in its implementation. It also turns your inbox into a de facto todo/task list.
These next points are really for those interetsed in technology and software architcture.
- Unlike Web Software, desktop software "Bloats" constantly. Web Software must stay small in terms of code size and high in terms of speed and efficency - because to be sucessfull they must serve more and more users efficiently.
Im in no way associated with google however pro-them this post may seem.