I was invited by Amen to join Gmail and I was very pleased with my two days with Gmail so far. Nope, it is not open for public yet, but there are ways to get invited to join. I have created my hendrikch [at] gmail.com.
Here, I would like to share my first few impressions on Gmail, both positives and negatives. I may share more on weekend after I have used more of it.
– 1000 MB of storage. Even last week upgraded-to-100 MB Yahoo! Mail can not match this, let alone Hotmail.
– Emails grouped by conversation. A feature I’ve never seen in any providers before, except in Microsoft Outlook 2003. Let’s say me and John is discussing something over email. In other email providers, I would need to browse through my Inbox to look for the same subject, click on the email, back to Inbox, click other email just to see what we were discussing. In Gmail, they are all grouped into one conversation, meaning I can read my whole conversation with John in one page. Awesome.
– Keyboard shortcut. ‘c’ to compose email, ‘r’ for reply, ‘a’ for reply all, ‘f’ for forward, etc. etc. A real time saver.
– Lightning fast. I tried sending 5 MB email. It only took 100 seconds.
– Powerful Google search for your email. For this one, I think it’s faster to search for your email rather than manually look for it in folders as you would have done with Yahoo or Hotmail.
– Label. I would say this is advanced Folders. In Gmail, there isn’t any folders, but labels. Advantage of it? You can assign multiple labels to an email, which you can’t do with folders.
– Auto complete of email address like what you find in Outlook 2003.
– Auto refresh of Inbox. It will automatically refresh every two minutes, so you won’t miss any email. What’s better, in your taskbar, you would see something like “Gmail – Inbox (2)”. Clever piece of interface. You don’t need to switch from your work just to refresh the browser to see if there are any new emails.
– and many more
Of course, nothing is perfect yet, here are the drawbacks:
– No ‘i’ keyboard shortcut to go back to Inbox.
– No POP3 support though this may be added soon in the future.
– Unlike Google which work across ALL kind of browsers in ALL kind of OS, Gmail doesn’t. It certainly didn’t work with Opera in Windows, Pocket Internet Explorer and Netfront 3.1 in Pocket PC didn’t too. They are working on this issue though.
– No import/export contacts -> They are working on this too.
– Quirky checkboxes states. Too “intelligent” checkbox sometimes made me do actions to wrong conversations.
All in all, when it is launched, Google-knows-when, I think we have a winner. Yahoo, watch out. Hotmail, if not for MSN Messenger, all people would have abandoned you.
Those who already have Gmail account, what is your impressions?