This post was published in September 2008 and may contain facts or opinion that are no longer current.


Email is really important to me, especially at the moment - I’m going to be moving a fair bit over the next few months, but my email can stay in one place (the cloud, if you don’t cringe every time you hear that). Like just about every geek, I’m in love with what Google have achieved with Gmail. The simplicity, while at the same time managing to offer every feature I could need along with bucket loads of storage (all for free) is amazing.


This one is a screenshot of the webmail system implemented at York University at the moment:


Wow. While I’m sure there were reasons for using this software, I’d be curious to know what advantages it offers over MS Exchange Server or Google Apps. Let’s be honest, it’s not as pretty as either of them.

  • What happens when I click on the sender? Does it start a new email addressed to them, or open the one in the inbox?
  • Why does the subject truncate, leaving a whole load of blue space?
  • Why isn’t the time received displayed?
  • Where’s the calendaring functionality offered by both Google and Microsoft?
  • Why do I only get 30MB of storage compared to Gmail’s 7 gigabytes?

One thing that really concerns me is whether I’ll be able to hang onto my email for years to come. I’m a complete hoarder, so I have this irrational urge to want to keep every message received… which is why Gmail appeals so much.

For the last four years, I’ve had all my email from my school redirected to my ‘personal’ Gmail account. Having left school, I’m over the moon that I still have 524 emails about crap like my A Level choices. You won’t understand this unless you’re stupidly crazy-obsessive like me, but just to have the ability to be able to read any of that is great. I haven’t even started at York yet and I’ve already set up redirection using their online IT account system; I don’t want to leave the university and lose four years worth of correspondence with professors and friends.

What’s the absolute worst case scenario right now? That Google goes bump, or decides it can’t be arsed to keep Gmail ticking along anymore, but something tells me that won’t happen just yet. This is an issue that’s going to become even more important than it is right now: the ability for users to extract their data from a service and move somewhere else. Someone clever already took the idea and gave it a name.


By Kevin Spencer on 09 September 2008 at 20:07:

Because I want to have access to my email from more than one computer, I have used Gmail as my sole email client for a number of years now. I used to have my mail forwarded until they added to ability to pull it directly off my mail server. Love that feature.

The other thing that Gmail is amazing at is spam filtering. Wow, you only have 1 message in your spam folder? My spam folder count is currently 11416. Mind you I don’t hide or obfuscate my email address anywhere anymore. Gmail does such a good job a spam filtering I literally don’t see any in my inbox ever.

By Alex Muller on 09 September 2008 at 20:56:

I don’t know how people survive with desktop email anymore. The most spam I’ve ever had is about six in a day, but I’ve been quite careful with this address (though I realised it is all over the web in pixels, so I might as well have left it in the image above).

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From 10AM on Tuesday September 09, 2008

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