Wednesday 24 October 2007

Gmail, How do I Love Thee? Let me Count the Ways...

Here's a quick Gmail goodness grab-bag top-10...
  1. Spam filtering. It just works. I estimate it kills more than 99% of my spam, and the only occasional false positives I get are from Yahoo Groups (which is a spam cesspit anyway) and mailing lists that include spam samples (uhhh...)

  2. IMAP access. Yay, we've been asking and asking and asking for it, but it finally arrived yesterday.

  3. Local front-end servers. Recently, Google moved the POP/IMAP/SMTP servers I connect to. They're not now in the U.S., but much closer to me (in the UK?). Some sort of routing cleverness, I dare say. This means downloading a load of messages is now very, very fast.

  4. Search and Filters. Fast, flexible, frequently-very-useful. Especially when combined with the saved search extension for Firefox (using Greasemonkey or the Better Gmail extension).

  5. Labels. I know some people hate 'em, to which I say, "Just think of them as folders." But they're so much better than folders, mainly 'cos you can "file" a message in more than one of them.

  6. Fetchmail. Integrated, as way of grabbing your email from other accounts, using POP. Saves auto-forwarding, which is increasingly broken.

  7. AJAX. Not as ground-breaking as OWA, not as flashy as Oddpost/Yahoo/SWA, not as mashable as Zimbra, but fast and usable all the same.

  8. Keyboard shortcuts. A big productivity saver. I hate to move my hands off the keyboard to find my mouse -- that's a key reason why I don't "do" Mac OS.

  9. Google Apps. A white label version of Gmail is included in Google's hosted applications service.

  10. Free. Yes, as a confirmed cheapskate, this is a good thing. Even Google Apps is free for up to 50 mailboxes. No more do vanity domain owners have to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous email forwarders.