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The Case Against Gmail 435

Posted by timothy
from the but-it's-very-convenient dept.
stry_cat writes "Ed Bot makes the case against Gmail: 'Gmail was a breath of fresh air when it debuted. But this onetime alternative is showing signs that it's past its prime, especially if you want to use the service with a third-party client. That's the way Google wants it, which is why I've given up on Gmail after almost a decade.' Personally, I've always thought it odd that no other email provider ever adopted Gmails "search not sort" mentality. I've been a Gmail user since you needed an invitation to get an account. However Gmail has been steadily moving towards a more traditional email experience. Plus there's the iGoogle disaster that got me looking into alternatives to everything Google."
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The Case Against Gmail

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  • by stewsters (1406737) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:09PM (#45284699)
    The iGoogleocolypse?
    • Re:iGoogle Disaster (Score:5, Informative)

      by mythosaz (572040) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:17PM (#45284805)

      My 70 year old mother lamented iGoogle going away too. Take that for whatever it's worth.

      • by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:27PM (#45284927)

        I knew exactly one person who used it, it simply wasn't a popular feature, even if it was the homepage on some Gateway PCs.

        Sadly, many people don't realize that just because a web feature exists and works now, doesn't mean that it can be considered permanent. Auditing for security, proper functioning in the latest browsers, and other general maintenance still cost money. Google at least gives some notice, not all providers can do so.

        • by icebike (68054) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:56PM (#45285319)

          But as you pointed out, it was nothing but a web page, feeding on a bunch of parameters held somewhere.
          Seriously, how expensive is that to maintain?

          Write Once, it should work for ever, or until significant portions of the html spec are deprecated.
          But web standards are typically expanded and enhanced without dropping completely what existed before.

          I suspect it was so shoddily written, by a summer intern who has moved on, and no one can figure out
          how it works, and it wasn't worth the time to make it monetize-able.

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @07:06PM (#45286591) Homepage Journal

            I suspect it was so shoddily written, by a summer intern who has moved on, and no one can figure out
            how it works, and it wasn't worth the time to make it monetize-able.

            Nonsense. If the people at ighome.com and netvibes.com and protopage.com igoogleportal.com can figure it out, I'm pretty sure someone at Google can figure out how iGoogle works.

            Unfortunately, none of those alternatives are nearly as well-designed or refined. I'm gonna miss it. I had my RSS reader, my inbox, my weather, calendar, phases of the moon, task list and XKCD, plus a bunch of bookmarks all on one portal page. It was what I saw when I started a browser and it has worked perfectly for me for years. I'm pissed enough about Google dropping it that I've changed my search engine and rooted my Nexus 7.

            I really don't care if I'm just one of a very few who rely on iGoogle. I'm just not gonna support a company that takes away a product I like a lot and would have happily paid a few bucks a month for. Fuck Google.

            But at least it's a reminder that you can't get too dependent on these big corporations, because it gives them the power to fuck with you if they so desire.

          • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @07:20PM (#45286741) Journal

            t wasn't worth the time to make it monetize-able.

            I think they are making a fundemental mistake here.

            There a quite a lot of services brutlly cut because they weren't profitable enough. Sounds sensible.

            Big problem though is that it raises huge doubts about whether it's ever worth investing time in a new service. Since they are so keen on cutting, I'm not going to expand my usage of services beyond what I currently use, because basically I don't trust them to keep it up and running.

            Cutting niche services hampers the abilitiy to make non-niche ones.

        • by PRMan (959735) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @05:32PM (#45285749)
          I used it. I switched to ustart.org which imported the whole thing flawlessly.
          • by lorenlal (164133)

            Funny... Quick search for ustart.org... Looks like these guys work with virus authors and distributors to redirect people to their site. Classy.

            I liked iGoogle, but I'm thinking that most of us should find a site that isn't ustart.

        • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @05:50PM (#45285919) Homepage
          I suspect more people used it than you think but it's a person thing. People don't talk about it much. iGoogle clearly conflicted with G+ which means Google wasn't going to let it live even if everyone used it. Just like Google reader, if it's not going to help Google take on FB then it goes. There's a whole market now of apps and sites that act as a feed manager. It's certainly popular enough for people to invest their money into entering the market.
      • by mspohr (589790)

        I, too, am lamenting the coming demise of iGoogle and I am only 65!
        However, I don't consider it a disaster... more like a shoulder shrug.
        I think I can survive without it.

      • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:50PM (#45285245)

        Yes, it's totally bullshit that you would want to have a single page with all your email, news, weather, and everything else, launching from the start of your browser session. It's idiocy only pursued by the elderly to want to look at one page to get instantly up to date on everything.

        I'm sorry that iGoogle was your singularity.

      • by kav2k (1545689) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:53PM (#45285279)

        Very relevant: http://xkcd.com/1172/ [xkcd.com]

    • Re:iGoogle Disaster (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:19PM (#45284827)
      stry_cat knows hyperbole. "Disaster"? Seriously? I used iGoogle for years. Then Google said "it'll be going away in year." So, I found an alternative. Disaster averted.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      This and Google Reader. When Google Reader was cancelled, I switched to Tiny TIny RSS, and I have to say that I find it as good, if not better than Google Reader. Except that I mostly only use it on my phone. The web UI is great, but I find it quite slow, and that detracts from it's usefulness. If there's a good free alternative to Google Reader that you can host yourself, I haven't found it yet. I think GMail is the only cloud service that I really depend on for anything remotely important. Most of the s
      • The free live mail for domains is pretty decent... I've switched a few to it, same caveats as google wrt privacy though, and it's an MS thing. But you do get up to 50 mail accounts for free on a domain. I find the outlook interface a little more to my liking, but ymmv. Still use gmail for my primary email...
    • Re:iGoogle Disaster (Score:5, Informative)

      by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:30PM (#45284965) Journal

      The iGoogleocolypse?

      It's Ed Bott - what else did you expect? I don't even have to RTFA, and I can tell you that he's likely pimping Outlook.com in that same article as hard as he friggin' can. It's not so much a critical review of GMail, as it is a webvertisement for Outlook.com disguised as a critical review.

      GMail isn't exactly sliced bread (I use it POP3-style mostly), but it isn't as horrid as he makes it out to be, either. Think about this for a moment: MSFT's lead professional knob-slobberer badmouths a MSFT product's biggest competitor - so why is this even news?

      • He did, he did! (Score:5, Informative)

        by hackshack (218460) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @05:07PM (#45285485)

        Penguinisto, he mentioned Outlook 11 times in his last 3 paragraphs.

      • by whoever57 (658626) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @05:31PM (#45285733) Journal

        It's Ed Bott - what else did you expect? I don't even have to RTFA, and I can tell you that he's likely pimping Outlook.com in that same article as hard as he friggin' can. It's not so much a critical review of GMail, as it is a webvertisement for Outlook.com disguised as a critical review.

        Exactly. His slant can easily be determined from his comments about using calendars in Outlook: he complains that Outlook can only open gmail calendars in read-only mode. But this appears to be a limitation of Outlook -- my Thunderbird client (with the appropriate calendar plugins) can update gmail's calendar, so why can't Outlook?

        He then parrots the "scroogled" talking points.

    • Re:iGoogle Disaster (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:51PM (#45285255)

      Check out http://www.ighome.com/
      I'm not affiliated with them at all. It's the closest thing to an actual substitute that I've seen so far.
      They even let you import your old settings from iGoogle.

      Just a thought.

      • Aw, yeah! You've done it again, Slashdot! Thanks, I've been putting off finding a decent iGoogle replacement. This will do quite nicely. Kind of wish I could find out more about the company behind it, though... Not quite ready to trust them enough to log in to gmail through their widget.
    • by crunchygranola (1954152) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @05:00PM (#45285383)

      Google is being helpful in training/educating us not to rely on their free products for anything important.

      Google DeskTop search? Downloads were disabled with only a days warning. No really adequate replacement has really come forward since (I would guess Recoll is the best of the lot). The "rationale" offered seems to be white-wash for a decision to "encourage" us to store our data in their cloud.

      Then iGoogle. Is so expensive for Google to run iGoogle servers? Really?

      All the other services they have turned off are perhaps less significant due to smaller user bases, but they teach their lessons to users also.

      Before becoming dependent on a Google service, you need to keep a back-out strategy in your pocket.

  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:12PM (#45284719)
    And why hasn't IMAP been extended to support them properly?
    • by icebike (68054)

      Interesting question.

      Imap has always been folders based, but there is no technical reason it need be, when each "folder" could just
      be a list of pointers to individual messages in any sort of back end storage you may choose.

      The penalty is a double hit, (read a pointer, then read the file), but seriously, there is a great deal of flexibility offered
      by multiple simple indexes pointing to the same mail heap. In any Nix file
      system it could be done with nothing but soft links, thereby eliminating any double hit p

    • by MrEricSir (398214) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @05:17PM (#45285579) Homepage

      A better question is why Google is using IMAP folders as labels instead of using IMAP labels as labels.

  • What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lesincompetent (2836253) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:12PM (#45284725)
    Difficult to use with a third-party client? Really??? Please be more specific and elaborate cause i always had the opposite impression!
    • by alen (225700)

      no more activesync support on ios and the ios gmail app doesn't share contacts with the rest of the iphone as far as i can tell

      • by slaker (53818)

        There's an official Gmail client for iOS if you really, REALLY need push updates.
        Does the iOS mail client not do IMAP push?

      • no more activesync support on ios

        Wait, wait, wait... let me see if I understand you here:

        Are you saying that you cannot get your inbound (or outbound) GMail pushed through an exchange server to/from GMail and your iPhone?

        May want to be a bit more specific, boyo. :)

      • by Albanach (527650)

        Don't you feel that you're taking the Google boycott a bit far if you won't even search for how to sync contacts. [google.com]

    • by slaker (53818)

      I don't understand the problem either. Gmail works fine with any IMAP client I care to configure. IMAP itself has some weirdness around how clients interact with various folders, but that's not Gmail's fault.

      I really don't like Gmail because of a distaste for threaded comment view (yes, I know I can turn it off on the web, but not in the Android client), but as someone who has every non-spam e-mail I've received since 1993 sitting in my inbox I can say that it performs just fine in spite of that and I can

      • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hobarrera (2008506) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @05:08PM (#45285497) Homepage

        I don't understand the problem either. Gmail works fine with any IMAP client I care to configure. IMAP itself has some weirdness around how clients interact with various folders, but that's not Gmail's fault.

        Yes they are, they decided to implement their IMAP support in a non-standard way.
        Also, plenty of other issues ARE their fault [google.com].

      • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by icebike (68054) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @05:32PM (#45285751)

        I don't understand the problem either. Gmail works fine with any IMAP client I care to configure. IMAP itself has some weirdness around how clients interact with various folders, but that's not Gmail's fault.

        Well, yes, it is Gmail's fault.

        Gmail doesn't really have Folders, because its just a mail heap with pointers (labels) to simulate folders.
        So if Gmail has a non-standard implementation, its up to them to go the extra mile to make it work with Imap.

        Their current implementation is needlessly complex, to the point that anyone actually using much more than the default Inbox (a shifting target of late) has to have a pretty good understanding of both the folder concept AND the label concept to get things to work right.

      • by peragrin (659227)

        Actually threaded view is the one thing I wish every client had.

        But every implementation of threaded view sucks. The ability to add, or remove messages from a given thread must be allow and no one does it.

        Then again I can be in 6 different conversations with the 4-8 people each referencing the same 6 different projects. I use folders, labels categories, and anything else I can, but those 6 projects last a week, and then 6 new ones come up. the email subjects can vary which breaks every conversation (threa

    • Well, IMAP lacks some of the features you find in Exchange (but picks up a few over POP3), but that's not client side. I remember Pine worked okay with IMAP and I suspect that any clients developed later than that should be able to handle it fine (i.e. anything that's a viable client).
    • by armanox (826486)

      Indeed. I've got gmail connected to pine running on IRIX 6.5.

    • Difficult to use with a third-party client? Really??? Please be more specific and elaborate cause i always had the opposite impression!

      Yea, this.

      Thunderbird on my PCs, K9 Mail on my Android machines. Nary a problem to be found.

    • I don't understand his problem either. I recently upgraded to Mavericks and haven't noticed any issue with iCal or Apple Mail using my GMail account.
      • Re:What? (Score:4, Informative)

        by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @05:53PM (#45285945)

        Gmail has a 15 imap connection limit. Some clients use multiple imap connections. I know someone with an iphone, ipad, and laptop (mac using Apple Mail), and they run into the limit all the time.

        Worse, apple mail doesn't merely just quietly 'fail' to sync until the connetions become available, it gives a general error message and prompts for username/password.

        Re-Entering it doesn't help of course, because that's not the problem at all.

        You have to quit apple mail, and wait a while.

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:36PM (#45285043)
      In the summary? Because TFA was.

      Despite Google's lofty rhetoric about open standards, the Gmail protocols are undocumented and not available for licensing. Apps can perform a limited set of interactions with Gmail via its API, but if you want to build a communications app that connects directly to Gmail, you have to use either IMAP or (shudder) POP. Either way, you get a severely compromised experience. And neither configuration gives you access to calendars and contacts.

      I've never tried to build yet another e-mail program using Gmail, but there are at least dozens out there for iOS and android, the ones I've used seem to work just great, so I'm inclined to think this is an overstatement.

      Also

      The biggest problem with getting Gmail to work with third-party clients is that it doesn't use the same filing system they do.

      I'm guessing you can actually configure gmail to work that way. I'm also skeptical that there aren't clients out there that work with one of the most popular e-mail services out there. Specifically because I use some of them and they do actually work fine.

      He tries to generalize it, but it seems like he's talking about outlook specifically not working with gmail. Maybe he should try not using outlook? I dunno. Maybe that's just me. I hate outlook, but my work seems to love it. I have to forward my work e-mail to a gmail account to use it on anything besides outlook.

      • by slaker (53818)

        OK actually he's right that different IMAP clients interact with different IMAP servers when displaying folder structures. Gmail isn't the end all and be-all of IMAP and I don't think every IMAP client should just standardize on the way Google does something, but you really can run in to issues where three different clients name or use certain folders on the same server differently.

  • one more thing.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:12PM (#45284731)

    you forgot the US Government spying. until our IT giants tell the US government that they are leaving the united states if they don't stop, there is no reason to continue to freely use their service when an alternative is available.

  • Honestly, I've had email systems were far more flexible (Lotus) easier to search (Groupwise) and my email client on my desktop makes GMail look like a laughable cartoon. As far as a free email drop goes, it's fine. As for an enterprise or for managing email, it's not even in the minor league.

    • by kaiser423 (828989) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @05:26PM (#45285687)
      Anyone acting like Lotus is better than any other email client at anything is just incorrect. We actually have people switching to Linux and the running a Windows VM to do their actual work just so that they can use a Thunderbird or similar for email versus Lotus Notes. It's that bad. Earlier today I waited 35 minutes for my Inbox view to refresh so that I could actually see my inbox with only ~100 emails in it. We have a STOPNOTES.exe put on everyone's desktop by IT and that's the first thing they ask us to run if we call with a Lotus Notes problem. If by flexible you mean broke into a million pieces so technically you can make it any shape you want, then you would be correct.
  • cya (Score:2, Interesting)

    by donnyspi (701349)
    kbai!
  • Perhaps I've been spoiled by the speed of most Google apps and such, but Gmail has been very slow compared to its peppy-ness just a few months ago. I'll mark stuff in my Junk/Ads folder as read, then want to move on to my Spam folder to delete the stuff, but the app will stop me because it still has "pending requests" on the server. Gmail was a lot more tolerant of me being click-happy before. I'm not sure what changed.
  • I pay Google to host my business email accounts. I have been thinking there has to be some better alternative - does anyone know of an email provider that would let you have several accounts across a number of domains for a reasonable fee?

    This is probably better off as an Ask Slashdot question but I figured as long as people were in the mood to bitch about GMail I would see what other people are using.

    • by mu51c10rd (187182)

      I'll probably get slapped for this...but there is Office365. If you are a bit smaller, perhaps Zoho would work for you?

      • by Gunnut1124 (961311) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <nosniv.ydwor>> on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @05:06PM (#45285473)
        My company (~750 email users) bought in to the Office 365 hype while negotiating our MS licensing. We got it super cheap and thought "What the hell, 'free' DR and a cloud service to offer the end users? Why not?"... That was a year ago. In the year since that decision and 8 months in to using the product, I can say without a doubt that Office 365 is the worst email system I've ever used. Hands down, the absolute worst. Spam filtering problems? Yep, had those. Mail delivery problems? Yep, about 3 times a month (on average). Client connectivity issues? Oh yeah. Management site unavailable? It's happened more than once. 4-hour hold for "free" support? Yep, been through that too.

        It's bad enough that we're spending the money to move all of our cloud mailboxes back on-prem. I can't expect that ANYONE with an expectation for highly available mail systems would use Office 365. I'll offer further details in a PM if anyone needs it.
  • meh... MS advert... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr Krinkle (112489) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:21PM (#45284847) Homepage

    So his main issue with gmail....

    "It doesn't work with Exchange Active Sync"

    And that's google's fault? My guess is that MS stopped allowing it easy access HOPING people would move over to outlook.com (as he did, because he was "getting scroogled" cause we ALL know MS has NEVER used target advertising. etc etc)

    he complains that you should be able to easily access it from a browser, or a native app... Ermmmm... Works just fine for me from a browser and from apps on iOS and Android devices for me... (I don't believe in WinMo.. they sucked, they annoyed me, i'll never trust them again...)
    Even works fine on Blackberry....

    Soooo... "MOVE TO OUTLOOK.COM Don't get Scroogled...." thanks for the look MS... oh yea, use bing.com, it's AWESOME..

  • by silviuc (676999) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:22PM (#45284867) Homepage

    Ed Bott has been sucking the Microsoft tit for years and he loves it. But don't believe me, go check his articles up on ZDnet and see just how many of them cover all things Microsoft.

    In one of his articles he tells us just how much he loves Outlook.com. Link provided for convenience:
    http://www.zdnet.com/why-i-use-outlook-com-for-my-custom-email-accounts-and-how-you-can-too-7000015546/ [zdnet.com]

    • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:26PM (#45284925)

      Ed Bott has been sucking the Microsoft tit for years and he loves it.

      I've been using Gmail since the old days when you had to have an invitation, and I've always used a third party email client because Gmail's web-based interface is stupid and pointless. Ed Bott is an idiot and I don't understand how he ever got a job writing for any computer/tech related magazine or website.

    • To be fair, I think a lot of us have been getting increasingly dissatisfied with google. I don't like Microsoft, especially since windows 8, and its "we know better than the user" attitude, so I'd rather find another party, but Google has been less and less appealing as a source for anything for years now.

  • Google's Product (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GrBear (63712)

    I've decided to stop being Google's product after deciding I can't trust them any longer with my information.

    I opened a VPS to handle my own email services, dumped my Android devices, switched to Bing and block all Google cookie and scripts in my browser.

    The only last remnant I'm having a tough time replacing is YouTube for gaming vlog's.

  • by plover (150551) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:24PM (#45284901) Homepage Journal

    That's a failing of Google. They're the kings of search, so everything should be searchable, right? So they extended that to everything should be searched - always. Want to know who batted third in the fourth game of the World Series? Search for it. Want to know who sent you that email? Search for them. Want to run a program? Search for it.

    What they don't acknowledge is that people grow habits. Once we've learned a thing, we can repeat the thing pretty easily. I don't have to "search" for Excel on my PC, I know that if I click down here, then up and over here, I see the little [X~] icon. I don't open the search bar and type Excel. And I never open the search bar and type Excel.

    Microsoft, in their traditionally incompetent fashion of misunderstanding their users, decided to mimic Google's unacknowledged mistakes when they came out with Windows 8. (Unity, of course, had beaten them to the punch in incompetence, as they so often do.) Apple figured it out better when they tied search to the home screen on the iPhones, but wisely kept it out of sight. Most people drag their two-dozen useful icons to the first few pages of their iPhone, and use search only when they've forgotten which folder they hid their AnimeTube player in.

    Perhaps the reason GMail (beta) remained beta for so long was that they were running experiments on people. Maybe they wanted to see if people would ever adapt to their notions of "search". And maybe they finally tallied up the results, and recognized how stupid they were to believe it in the first place.

    • by PhrostyMcByte (589271) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @05:23PM (#45285661) Homepage

      "I don't have to "search" for Excel on my PC, I know that if I click down here, then up and over here, I see the little [X~] icon. I don't open the search bar and type Excel. And I never open the search bar and type Excel.

      I rarely use Excel, definitely not enough to commit its location in menus to memory. But I can type winkey+e+x+enter in a fraction of the time it takes for you to "click down here, then up and over here" through menus. I'd say using search to launch applications is the right way to do it -- one of the few additions I think they nailed in Vista.

  • I've been using gmail with imap for quite a while, and there really isn't a problem at all.

    When you use IMAP, those labels are translated into folders. If you used multiple labels for a message, most clients will create multiple copies, and trying to keep things in sync is tricky.

    It hurts when you do this? Well, don't do it then. The problem is not with gmail here. Gmail labels simply don't translate to imap. Decide whether you want to use multiple labels with gmail, or stay with your imap client and use one label only. You can do copies for other folders, or use your email client's labeling system. It would be nice to have a client that recognizes all the labels and then lets you choose whic

    • by Ravaldy (2621787)

      I agree. Although I'm more of an MS product user, I don't see the problem with Gmail. My gmail account works fine and it's free. Who cares if they get access to my personal info. In the end whether it be MS or Google, they can't do this for free forever so they tailor it to be lucrative. As a customer if you want to pay there are plenty of choices but when you try to get what you want in a free product tailored for the masses your reaching to people who don't care about your unique needs.

  • I've always thought it odd that no other email provider ever adopted Gmails "search not sort" mentality.

    Because it's stupid. If you have to constantly search for things it means you are a lazy disorganized slob. The number of times I've had to search for an email can be counted on one hand because I have things organized so that I know where they are.

    • by slaker (53818) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:50PM (#45285229)

      I keep every single message I've gotten since 1993 in the same inbox with perhaps a half dozen total messages segregated into a different folder. That's around 300,000 emails. I have a very good memory so I seldom need to search, but when I do, I've never found a weakness in the search component of any mail client I care to name, even going back to elm or pine.
      The greatest degree of flexibility comes with having all my messages in the same directory; over the last 20 years I've treated it as a quasi-journal and usually if I go back to read a message or two for a given date I can give a pretty accurate summation of everything else I did on that day, so as an organizational structure I'd say it works just fine.

    • by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:59PM (#45285377)

      Because it's stupid. If you have to constantly search for things it means you are a lazy disorganized slob. The number of times I've had to search for an email can be counted on one hand because I have things organized so that I know where they are.

      Why should I waste time manually organizing my e-mails when I can just search for them when I want to read them later? Computers exist to do menial work for me, so I don't have to do it myself.

  • IMHO, the whole Email thing is past its time. Letting just anyone send means spammers will. When people ask me for my email, I now give out a website where they can set me a message ... after they login. But I don't give them an access name/password unless they ask for one (and no one knows to do that).

    • IMHO, the whole Email thing is past its time. Letting just anyone send means spammers will. When people ask me for my email, I now give out a website where they can set me a message ... after they login. But I don't give them an access name/password unless they ask for one (and no one knows to do that).

      So by your very definition, few people, if any, contact you. The concept of human contact, even through digital means, will never be "past its time". Does E-mail have its issues? Of course it does. So does the phone. So does texting. So does BBM. So does postal mail. So does Facebook. The question is which set of pros and cons are enough to warrant the use of a particular means of communication. E-mail's strength is its sheer ubiquity and openness. Its weakness is its inability to intelligently determine de

  • by ClassicASP (1791116) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:41PM (#45285113)
    I gots no complaints. Works fine for me in Thunderbird.
  • Why Is This News? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by snookerdoodle (123851) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:41PM (#45285125)

    I am serious. Why does /. consider an article by a Microsoft shill bashing Google and recommending Microsoft's product to be worthy of our time?

    Thank you in advance for any serious answers.

  • After Yahoo recently changed its mail format, Gmail is beginning to look pretty good again.
  • by DutchUncle (826473) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:45PM (#45285171)
    . . . and what's wrong with IMAP and POP? They're called "standards" because they're "standard" and consistent and don't change every day like some people's menu bars and web interfaces. My wife can read her Gmail from her iPhone, too. Neither of us is confused by their interface . . . In fact I don't know what this article is complaining about other than "MICROSOFT IS NONSTANDARD" which is not exactly a shock, but he's saying it as if everyone else in the world is supposed to conform to Microsoft's standards. Um m m m m , no.

    If you're worried about privacy: I pay for Verizon FIOS. That includes email. I *pay* for this, it's *mine*, they're not supposed to be making money off it . . . except I know from other evidence that they are scanning the email just like Google does, especially when I'm looking at it with the webmail interface rather than Thunderbird. So I don't think you can trust paid services either. And I'll bet dollars to donuts that if you run your own server, someone is scanning things to the SMTP port. If you don't control the wires end-to-end, then you don't have control, period.

    For the ultra-cool folks who ask "who uses a client" and "who uses email anymore" . . . what are you doing reading such an ancient site as Slashdot? Go read something that nobody else knows about yet, and let us dinosaurs roam in peace.
  • Thunderbird as a client, IMAP server on a hosting account with spam filtering. No problems, no ads, no worrying about what will Google/Yahoo/Microsoft screw up next.

    "Free" is too expensive.

  • by bromoseltzer (23292) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:50PM (#45285249) Homepage Journal
    I just replaced my Google Mail account with a Raspberry Pi running Postfix and Dovecot. It does the job, if you don't get more than a few messages per minute. My motivation is to reduce my Internet Data Footprint -- the amount of stuff that is available to Google, NSA, et al to paw through. It uses trivial power, so there's no issue running 24/7. (If you're thinking about this, I'd recommend the BeagleBone Black - a lot faster for $10 more.)

    The worst downside (besides having to set up and manage the thing) is spam control. Gmail is excellent at this, and Postfix/Amavis/Spamassassin only catches a fraction of the incoming bad stuff. There are cloud services for spam filtering, but they seem expensive for a single user.
  • by ninjacheeseburger (1330559) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @04:53PM (#45285285)

    Since I started using the internet Google was my home page, then I started using iGoogle (I came to this article from an RSS feed on iGoogle). When its shut I will be switching to http://www.netvibes.com/ [netvibes.com] .

    One thing that does make Google stand out is the fact that they make it really easy for you to download your data and I was able to get all my feeds into netvibes with just a couple of clicks.

  • by Dracos (107777) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @05:38PM (#45285815)

    Hardly. Every time they change the UI it feels less like email, and more like a strange conglomeration of email, social media, and instant messaging, where email always loses importance. I personally find the whack-a-mole buttons annoying as hell, especially since the one I use second most ("mark as read") is buried under "More".

    And I'm sure anyone here who has tried to deal with Gmail as an IMAP server has yanked out at least one fistful of their own hair.

  • by vinn (4370) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @05:43PM (#45285879) Homepage Journal

    I've been a Gmail user since about June 21, 2004 (that's when my first sent message shows). For personal use I always thought Gmail was just sufficient. The labels were a bit annoying and I have found the tabs a big improvement. The storage is great and I haven't deleted an email since I started using it. I'm primarily a searcher not a sorter, so in many ways that's a good fit for my personal use.

    BUT....

    A month ago I started my own consulting business. While it's getting off the ground, I've been using the Gmail account for work related reasons. Coming from the standard Outlook world (as well as Thunderbird and other clients), I find Gmail SUCKS GIANT F*CKING DONKEY BALLS to get work done. It's impossible to manage any kind of sane workflow with it. As of this morning, I think I've officially given up.

    The new tabs idea would almost work for me - to manage my workflow I figure I need 8 tabs total. In their infinite wisdom, they've limited the new tabs idea to 5. Why 5? I have no idea. I do enjoy the fact that it's reasonably intelligent, so it does figure out automatically how to filter things. However, I really need the ability to add my own tab for work reasons. You know, the one that's labeled "EVERY EMAIL FROM KEVIN BECAUSE THIS IS THE GUY THAT'S PAYING ME AND I DAMN WELL BETTER NOT MISS A MESSAGE FROM HIM".

    Like I mentioned, I'm primarily a searcher, however some stuff is so important that you really need to be able to sort it. When you get hundreds of messages a day, the last thing you want is something scrolling off the first page of the browser window. Oh, and why the hell can't I have that first page show 1000 different threads rather than just, say, the 100 it has?

    I hate to admit it, but I see a hosted Exchange account in my future.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      "I hate to admit it, but I see a hosted Exchange account in my future."

      And an epic amount of spam that you never knew you were not getting because Google has been blocking most of it.

      Please buy an exchange host elsewhere, you really need to see what it's like running a naked email server in the wild west of the internet. Hope you don't have clients that get upset when your server spams the hell out of them.

      If there is one thing I do not miss doing, it's managing an email server let alone an Exchange serve

  • by shadowmas (697397) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @05:55PM (#45285971)

    .. Is to buy my own domain to host email off of. I'm not dependent on any providers whims or fancies. I still don't understand why people don't do it. Host your email anywhere you wish but get your own domain. It means you never have to worry about changing providers since all your contacts and services can still use the same address.

  • by helixcode123 (514493) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @07:44PM (#45286925) Homepage Journal

    TFA's statement "And neither configuration gives you access to calendars and contacts." is just wrong, or at least misleading. While it's true that you can't access calendar info through IMAP, there is an entire Google calendar API for event manipulation (I use in my Sig webapp).

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