Sometimes I feel like the beer goggles will wear off on Gmail

I love Gmail. I finally got my Outlook mail files uploaded to the Gmail servers thanks to their FREE IMAP support (FUCK YOU YAHOO AND MSN) about 4 months ago, and life has been great since. The Gmail applet on my phone may not be as responsive as the push mail on a BB or iPhone, but it’s better than no mail at all until I hit a hotspot or sniff the EDGE connection from my laptop.

But every now and then, I see things about Gmail that drive me nuts. How can a service so perfect have so many flaws? It’s still leaps and bounds beyond anything else, but some of this shit is a no-brainer, or a tiny-brainer. A lot of it should be easily implementable is just inexcusable that it’s broken or missing.

For starters, my biggest gripe off the bat:

No sort by sender or subject? Jesus, that’s a gimme.

The search function is broken as far as I’m concerned, because it doesn’t search for fragments. If I’m searching for ‘check,’ yes, it’ll find every instance of ‘check,’ but it will NOT find ‘checks,’ ‘checking,’ or ‘checked.’ And as if to add insult to injury, I can’t search for ‘check*’, because there’s no wildcard search support.

Fuck you!

Today, I finally tried to use the signature feature, since I’m sick of typing in my signature when needed, if I can just delete when it’s not. Wait a sec. What the…Oh, come the fuck on Google. I can’t have hyperlinks in my signature? Fuck you. That’s a really fucking stupid feature to not have. It’s almost as bad as not allowing multiple pre-scripted sigs, which is another broken part about the signature feature. What if I want a signature for my personal mail and one for my professional mail? Assholes.

And finally, my biggest gripe, you can’t increase the duration that Gmail checks your linked POP accounts. I have my 3 domain-based mail accounts being fetched by Gmail, which is great, because it lets me use Gmail as a replacement for Outlook all together. Except, hey, guess what - You can’t set the INTERVAL for which Gmail checks your POP mail. Which wouldn’t be all that bad, if Gmail didn’t fucking go ONE HOUR between auto-fetches. Yes, that’s right, it’s not even 15 minutes, not even 30 minutes, it’s a whole fucking hour between fetches.

I would PAY for a functional search with wildcard support. I would PAY for 5 or 10 minute fetch intervals. I would PAY for a sort-by-sender/subject feature.

But they don’t even offer me the option to pay, so I’m stuck using what amounts to the best kinda broken mail client out of a field of utterly dismal and broken ones.


Yep, it sucks, but less than anything else.

Google has turned out to be remarkably bad at living up to their promise. Gmail still in beta after what, five years? No new features that I’ve noticed in a year or more?

I think their economic foundation has seriously screwy incentives: they basically make no money off of any of their services, so they have no tangible fiduciary feedback to work from. I wonder how they’re going to effectively drive their scads of products when the only thing that really matters is their ad auction algorithms.

(Full disclosure: I work for Microsoft, where it’s disturbingly common to hear engineers say “But since you can’t charge for that [software], it doesn’t matter.”)

Who wants to implement sorting by sent date? That’s boring.

I find RoundCube or a frickin’ local mail client like Thunderbird better.

Iphone version, IMAP, coloured labels, the GMail labs things… it’s seen a fair few additions.

You can search by sender by clicking the advanced search.

I presume the limitations have to do with the kind of index they are building and searching by, but yes, it’s a bit frustrating.

Ah. This explains all of the problems I have been having with late email lately.

I guess I’ll have to go back to using an email program again.

Am I right that Gmail is a free service? Couldn’t Google simply stop providing this service at any time? That real danger there, though, would be that people would not have the opportunity to complain bitterly about something they are getting for free.

I’m sorry, take that line of bullshit somewhere else. I guarantee you that Google has is just reaping the rewards for the advertising built into Gmail and it’s more than paid for itself. Google doesn’t do anything for free, they just find a way to make it pay for itself without charging the end user.

If there’s one thing Google is good at, it’s monetizing their assets.

Yep. I was using Google’s Hello as my primary IM for my parents. What we loved about it was I could put a photo from my PC in the big screen on the left where we could both chat about it in the text boxes on the right. We spent a lot of Saturday mornings pulling up photos from my parents of things going on down there, me and my wife sharing photos from what was going on in our life and chatting about them. I haven’t found a similar IM service. And my computer almost- illiterate parents easily learned it and liked it.

Then out of the blue Google just announced they were shutting it down. A lot of people begged for the opportunity to pay Google to keep using it. Apparently there were hobbyists like scrapbookers that would share photos and stuff who came to rely on it, also discovered other hobby fans like stamp collectors would use to it show and discuss stamp variations, and so on.

Google gave no explanation, just shut it down. I worry that they may decide gmail is too much trouble one say and do the same (although I still use Gmail as my email service.)

If there’s one thing Google is good at, it’s monetizing their assets.

It really, really isn’t. They’ve got a couple of big hits, but they’ve screwed the pooch on many, many more. What Google’s good at is getting ads in peoples’ faces, and being smart enough to realise that little bits of money from everyone was much better than a few massive customers. In the case of Gmail, it’s nowhere close to being the dominant player - it’s a distant third - and they haven’t ever posted much success from the Premium version of it from domains either.


Figured this might be a good time to talk about alternatives to Gmail, for those who might be thinking of switching like I am. I really love Gmail and Google stuff in general, but the recent Buzz rollout got me thinking I might want to try roll my own for a while.

I’d be on a PC only and do not read or send email on my phone. I have web hosting, but I haven’t researched web-based email solutions in a long time. Seems like Roundcube is still one of the best free packages. Anyone have recommendations?

Pay for

It is crazy email OCD nerd Webmail.

You may not even have to pay–Fastmail has a free account level that you could probably try out and see if it agrees with you.

I got the lifetime membership basic account (right before they discontinued it) and the thing is great, but just stupidly powerful for my needs–like using a howitzer to kill squirrels.

I’ll put another vote for I have been using them for about 6 years or so. I think the 14 dollars a year is more than worth it.

Forgot all about Fastmail. That looks worth trying. Thanks, guys.

just ssh in and type mail from the terminal, dude.

Like the idea of access-anywhere mail but hate the idea of having to unblock javascript? Does your email signature include a link to the FSF? Do you pine for the days when your mail client was, well, Pine? Look no further than sup: the world’s greatest email client.

Oooh, interesting.

Um. No. That’s too retro. Might as well go back and surf http with Lynx while you’re at it.