Time to abandon Gmail?

Moderated by Jason Hiner | November 11, 2013 -- 07:00 GMT (23:00 PST)

Summary: Last year Gmail passed Hotmail to become the world's most popular email service. But that was then.

David Braue

David Braue

Yes

or

No

Ken Hess

Ken Hess

Best Argument: No

34%
66%

Audience Favored: No (66%)

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

Gmail is the best of its time. The thing is: its time was 2009

David Braue: Gmail was born to outshine Yahoo! Mail and Microsoft Hotmail. Superlative spam catching, innovations like Gmail Labs and the high-value (and free) Google Apps bundle embodied Google’s debonair anti-establishmentarianism – and made us forget its sole purpose in life was to help Google sell more ads.

Companies standardizing on Gmail – many of which were SMEs without the budget for Microsoft Exchange – found themselves hand-holding employees on an unfamiliar and unintuitive interface built around message tags, archiving and conversation view.

Developers have struggled  to keep up with changes to Gmail’s poorly-defined and regularly-changing APIs, while Google’s IMAP and POP3 never worked perfectly. Google restricted Exchange ActiveSync access; iOS Mail still can’t deal with Gmail’s ability to archive messages or delete them; and Apple’s Mavericks version of Mail couldn’t speak properly to Gmail at all.

In its four years of life, Gmail has changed from embodying anti-Microsoft panache to being a gateway drug for Google’s online services. Google sucks you in with Gmail, then keeps you with subtle technical incompatibilities and ever-more-creative ways of harvesting your private communications to sell ads.

Meanwhile, its interface is as stale and frustrating as ever. Gmail may have been impressive nine years ago, but these days it’s being outdone by friendlier and more compatible alternatives like Outlook.com  that merit consideration like never before.

 

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It's got everything you need -- and it's simple to use

Ken Hess: As much as technology analysts and bloggers like to beat up on Google, there's no reason to abandon Gmail. Gmail isn't perfect but it is close to being so. I've used it since it was in early beta and I'd be hard-pressed to find something that even comes close. Sure, I used to miss folders but now I find that I don't need them cluttering up my navigation window.
 
And who really remembers where you put an email two or three years ago? You still have to search for it. Google knows search and searching your email is very easy to do. GMail is available on any platform via apps or browser, so there's no need to use a heavy client.
 
Gmail, for personal use, is also free. It provides plenty of space that grows every day. It's secure and supports IMAP and POP3 incoming mail protocols. It has an excellent SPAM filter. In fact, I only have to see an errant email about once a month that the filter doesn't catch. And it has some advanced features not found in any other mail application that I've used, such as the attachment sensor (That's what I call it).
 
The attachment sensor knows that you've referenced an attachment in your message but didn't attach it. It catches that and pops up a message asking you to confirm that you have no attachments. How many times have you sent an email without the attachment that you meant to send? You won't with Gmail.
 
With Gmail, you can do all the expected things with your online email account but one of the great advantages of Gmail is that it's integrated with Google's other applications such as Google Groups, Google Docs, YouTube, Google+, Gtalk, and more. You don't have to do anything special for that integration; it's just there.
 
You can highlight your important emails with various colors of stars or other icons so that you don't forget an important message. And now, GMail categorizes your incoming email, by default, as Notifications, Promotions, or regular Inbox.
 
In essence, Gmail is the mail application that goes where you do without hassle. It's simple to use and I don't see any reason to disconnect from it in favor of something else. At least, not until something much better comes along, and in almost ten years, I'm still waiting for that to happen.

Talkback

159 comments
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  • Outlook beats Gmail in Speed,UI..

    Gmail was good about 2 years back but it became mess because of clunky UI and later google wanted everyone to use that G+ crap and that made Gmail so bad and i switched to Windows Live mail about 2 years back, now outlook dot com is way better.
    Sugadevan
    Reply 65 Votes I'm for Yes
    • I have 108,011 emails and am using 48% of my free capacity. (since 2005)

      Many emails have 8 MB movie attachments.

      I use hundreds of filters and labels to automate my email.

      My inbox gets about 30 emails a day, the rest are technical and promotional items that essentially have their own dedicated inboxes.

      I can delete all my emails with one simple filter, or mark every email as read with one simple filter. (this is significant because settings allow labels to be hidden unless there is a new, unread email, then the label appears in the list on the main page.)

      Nothing can be more streamlined or easier to use than Gmail. I can find anything, even from 6 years ago with the search tool.

      Gmail takes full advantage of the power and security of Linux. And I've been using Linux for 13 years.
      Joe.Smetona
      Reply 58 Votes I'm Undecided
      • Good for you

        You are giving a lot of personnal information to Google. You are making them very rich.
        gbouchard99@...
        Reply 27 Votes I'm Undecided
        • How dare they!

          You get a service. A GREAT service! All they do to pay for it is scan words with a bot and present target ads. Oh my. Google is so demanding. How dare they! Then Google even scans my mail for things like shipping notifications and has the nerve to push that info to Google Now on my phone telling a package was shipped or that a package was delivered. The nerve of Google to tell me something before I ASK FOR IT!
          mill3000@...
          Reply 48 Votes I'm Undecided
        • and you think

          you're not giving any personal information to Microsoft when using outlook.com? I would say, it's called naivety...
          BTW, how much personal information does Google have on me if I use gmail via IMAP/SMTP with GNUS and mutt encrypting every email message with asymmetric gpg/pgp by means of a 2048R key?
          eulampius
          Reply 22 Votes I'm Undecided
          • Microsoft, at least, gives you the opportunity to OPT-IN to ...

            ... sharing your information with them, AND they only use that information to market their own products to you. Google, on the other had will sell your personal information TO ANYONE who wants to pay Google for that information about you. Whether they are selling that information to the NSA or to the "Russian Mafia" or to Islamic Terrorists, you will never know.
            M Wagner
            Reply 3 Votes I'm Undecided
          • Nonsense

            That's complete garbage. Provide a link to a credible source to support these false claims. Google uses the information to provide ads but they do not sell your personal information. That would be a disaster for them.
            zd@...
            Reply 12 Votes I'm Undecided
        • Therefore???

          Therefore???
          yaakovaryeh
          Reply 6 Votes I'm Undecided
        • ...makes perfect sense

          Yes, gbouch..., the perfect business Model. I get a fantastic service for free, they get paid by advertising, the "buyer" on the ads gets free research, and your personal data is just as public as ANYWHERE else. What is your point?
          ChoMlo
          Reply 13 Votes I'm Undecided
        • That's OK by me

          As long as they give me what they contracted to do I don't care if they scan for selling opportunities. Afterall, I am a business woman and would do the same. If I don't want them to know I don't use Google.
          fredsgirl1
          Reply 6 Votes I'm Undecided