A JavaRanch friend of mine (thanks Gregg) passed me an invitation to join the GMail beta last week. I immediately signed up and have been using it since.
So what are my impressions?
- 1000 meg is a lot of space. I have yet to get to 1%.
- The interface is very snappy. Response is excellent although there has been occasional slow times. At this point I am willing to write those off to the beta.
- Threaded conversations are great. All the emails for a particular email exchange are color coded and kept together like a thread in a forum. Each email is treated like an index card in a deck of index cards. You can view them with just the sender and first line displayed or fully expanded. No more hunting around and resorting trying to find what someone said earlier and there is no reason to keep quoting entire email threads in each email. Because of the threaded messages, even though I have about 100 emails, they fit easily on one page in what appears to be 20 emails.
- Labels are an interesting idea. Instead of folders, GMail lets you assign labels to each email. You can assign multiple labels if you like. Then you can filter your email by a label. In a way, it is as if you could drop the same email in multiple folders. I haven't decided whether I love the idea but I'm not complaining yet.
- The spam filter is kick ass. I have been routing all my JavaRanch email through my new GMail address in order to test the spam filter. My JavaRanch email address generates at least 100 spams a day. So far, I have maybe two spams a day in my regular inbox. I have yet to see a real email in my spam box.
- Instead of flags you can mark a message as "starred". One of the filters allows you to show only starred messages. This is very helpful to me. I frequently read emails and then decide that I will respond to them later. Then they get lost in my inbox. Although the same functionality exists in Yahoo with flags, the interface just seems more intuitive in Gmail