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Why would you want a Gmail account?

April 19, 2006

At first I thought Gmail would be like any other online mail account; kind of junky, slow, and hard to use effectively.  Now after using it for a while I am convinced that that in just a few years, mail clients like Thunderbird or Outlook will be a thing of the past.

3 things changed my mind.  First was the search-based organization model – it is practically maintenance-free as the engine can go get anything for you when you need it.  Second is the conversation threading – it works better than other implementations I’ve seen.  Third is the smooth integration with other functions like Google calendar, which beats Meeting Maker all hollow and gives other scheduling solutions a lot to worry about.

All of the functions reflect Google’s simple-but-powerful design philosophy, which I like a lot. 

You can get a Gmail account by using an ‘invitation’ from a current user, and I have a whole bunch of invitations left.  So if you want a Gmail account, drop me a line at and I’ll get one right out to you.

Categories: Geeky
  1. April 20, 2006 at 21:09 | #1

    The main thing that keeps me from diving in whole-heartedly to GMail?  Well, two things, actually.  Three.

    1.  It’s not mine.  Someone else is holding onto my mail.  Now I don’t think that Google is going to go tits-up tomorrow, or start charging $100/month for e-mail, but it’s still not something sitting on my domain or on my own PC.  Which brings up …

    2.  It’s only accessible online.  I semi-regularly access my e-mail (Thunderbird) offline for a variety of reasons.  Go with GMail and be stuck somewhere without connectivity, and all that info is inaccessible.

    (The flip side to this is that it resides in the most reliable repository of info out there, the massive Google servers, as opposed to a hard drive that can crash.  Granted.)

    3.  I want it under my domain, dammit.

    (It is possible, depending on how your hosting setup is built, to auto-route everything going to your domain e-mail to your office account.  It’s still not as convenient, and my own setup has complications that keep that from being workable anyway.)

    If Google let me map my domain addresses onto GMail, I’d give a massively serious rethink.

    That all said, it is indeed head and shoulders above any other online mail service, esp. free ones.

  2. April 20, 2006 at 21:24 | #2

    Yep – Gmail isn’t for everyone.  There are a couple workarounds and perspective tricks, though.

    The fact that Gmail is online is a minus for some (who access email offline) but a plus for others, who are not always at the same machine. I can sit down at any computer anywhere on campus – or for that matter in the world – and be right at home.  As connectivity becomes more ubiquitous that should become less of an issue.

    Our programmer does some voodoo thing with POP and ‘reply to’ so she pretty much does Gmail as her .edu account.  I have the email address for this blog so it just forwards to my Gmail account. 

    As for privacy and possession issues, can’t help ya there.  Google is a big corporate system owned by open-information freaks (unless you live in China   :down: ), so that’s still a head-scratcher.  But I am seriously groovin’ on the calendar.

  3. April 22, 2006 at 02:33 | #3

    I’m a huge fan of gmail as well.  At first I thought it’d only work as a huge junk mail dump account like a big hotmail account.  However, like you, I’ve really come to like it with use.  The Google folks seem to actually know what they’re doing.  Even Blogger seems to be working better nowadays.

  4. Les
    April 25, 2006 at 08:35 | #4

    Regarding issue number 2 in Dave’s reply…

    2.  It’s only accessible online.

    That’s not entirely true. You can easily setup Gmail to allow for POP3 access to your mail. I use my Thunderbird client setup to pull down mail from Gmail in addition to my own domains all the time. It’s not erased from Gmail’s server either so you still have a fully-threaded copy in your Gmail account (yes, it even will append your replies written via Thunderbird). The only drawback to this is I’ve not figured out how to have Gmail mark anything you’ve downloaded as “read” mail.

    You can also use Gmail as your outbound SMTP server if you want. When I had to move in with the in-laws I was suddenly at a loss for a SMTP server as Charter was blocking port 25. Gmail has an alternate port for SMTP and allows you to route your mail through it. If you tell Gmail which domain names you’re routing through it then it won’t mess with the headers either. Wicked cool.

    I’ve mainly been using Gmail as a backup account, but it’s slowly becoming more of a primary as of late and even though it’s not really my primary just yet I still rely on Gmail quite a bit as you can tell.

  5. A.V.Balaji
    May 20, 2006 at 13:21 | #5

    Dear DOF & Les,
    I have been desperately trying to get my mail from Gmail into my thunderbird but my library server seems to block everything.
    I saw you people discussing bout some alt ports for Gmail. well can you enlighten me further on that.
    I would be extremely pleased.
    Thanks!

  6. May 21, 2006 at 08:56 | #6

    I am sorry, AVB, but I have not attempted to do that.  However, if you click on the ‘help’ link in your Gmail page, then to the appropriate topic for POP, there is a subtopic for ‘Configuring Thunderbird 1.5’ that may help. link

    Of course, if the library is blocking incoming POP mail, your only recourse would be to use the Gmail screen only.  Good luck to you.

  7. A.V.Balaji
    June 3, 2006 at 05:00 | #7

    You are right DOF. I am currently trying that only!
    Thanks

    AVB

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