I was invited onto Gmail by Rajiv recently. Google continues to surprise and amaze with its excellent technological grasp. Its amazing how someone can redesign something as traditional as web-email so fundamentally. Some very core and interesting concepts -
- Conversation Grouping Most desktop email clients provide this. However, there is something very nice about the way Gmail does it. Perhaps its simply because its so new and its so fast that it makes it fun to use.
- Labels This is a really nice feature. Instead of grouping into folders you can apply labels to it which are actually pretty similar to filters or saved searches. The advantage is that you can apply multiple labels to it. Nice metaphor.
- 1GB space Their claim to fame. Already available with a host of other web mailing sites, Gmai l wants you to not delete emails ever. They want their search engine to be used to find emails. I haven't had reason to use it yet though.
- Keyboard shortcuts are amazing. If you are a power user you will enjoy gmail.
- The Spell checker is brilliant.
- Sizzzzling Fast Google remains one of the fastest services on the Net and Gmail rocks. It is so blazing fast, sometimes it just outpaces my desktop Outlook Express Client.
And Gmail is still in beta!!
The reason why Gmail is creating a controversy is because it scans your email to provide more relevant ads next to the message. Although, this has gotten people pretty upset, I for one do not mind it too much because of the other features of the site. The ads are quite interesting too. Sometimes they get it so right its quite amazing. And they make sure your email comes first and then the ads so they hardly bother you. They are always text based and occupy very little space. Yet, Google's AdSense program must be quite successful because its all over the place.
They have some interesting rules about what content they will show ads for. e.g. ads are strictly family viewable. A bunch of interesting rules are available here.
From Google's support forum -
Only ads classified as Family-Safe are distributed through our content network and to your Gmail inbox. For example, Google would block certain ads from running next to an email about catastrophic news.
Gmail is available by invitation only so do not try to look for a sign-in link like I did!
Gmail is causing Hotmail, Yahoo to wake up to email competition.
A Microsoft Hotmail employee talking about his experiences dealing with the Gmail threat.
MSN announces 250 Mb disk space just like Yahoo did. Very Reactive!